Here's where Aztecs' Rashaad Penny is most likely to go in the NFL Draft


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Staff member
Jun 20, 2005
Chula Vista, CA

It was easy to know where San Diego State running back Rashaad Penny was headed during the season.

Toward the end zone.

Where Penny is headed in this week’s NFL Draft is another matter altogether.

Obviously, it has been on his mind for some time.

“I’ve been dreaming about this ever since I step(ped) foot on a football field,” Penny tweeted the other day.

Every team has gotten a good look at Penny, whether it was of him leading the nation in rushing last season with a school-record 2,248 yards; or standing out in the Senior Bowl, where he was the leading rusher and caught a 73-yard touchdown pass; or competing in the NFL Combine, where his 4.46 40-yard dash opened some eyes.

So where is he headed? It’s difficult to predict, although we can provide some insight (with a tip of cap to U-T draft guru Eddie Brown).

A few things to consider:

Let’s start with the teams most intent on getting a running back in the draft. According to, the teams with the biggest need at the position are Tampa Bay, Detroit, the New York Giants, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and the Los Angeles Rams.

Which teams have shown the most interest in Penny? Well, he had pre-draft visits with Tampa Bay, the Giants, Philadelphia and the Rams as well as Buffalo, Carolina, Denver, Miami and Washington.

Most analysts regard Penny among the top five or six running backs in the draft — along with Penn State’s Saquon Barkley, LSU’s Derrius Guice, Georgia’s Sony Michel and Nick Chubb and USC’s Ronald Jones II — and expect him to be a second-round pick.

Barkley is expected to go within the first five picks. That would place him with either Cleveland (which picks first and fourth), the Giants, the Jets or Denver.

If another running back is selected in the first round — let’s say Guice — it likely will come late. Perhaps to Pittsburgh at No. 28.

That’s unless Washington pulls a shocker at No. 13 or Detroit at No. 20. With the depth of the running back class, it would be surprising to see teams pluck one that high, though.

So let’s say two running backs are gone by the end of the first round.

When the draft resumes Friday, things could get real interesting at the top of the second round.

The first 12 picks belong to Cleveland (Nos. 33 and 35), the Giants (34), Indianapolis (36 and 37), Tampa Bay (38), Chicago (39), Denver (40), Oakland (41), Miami (42), New England (43) and Washington (44).

If Cleveland doesn’t get Barkley, expect the Browns to select a back here. And that could start a run on them among the other teams in need, like the Giants, Buccaneers, Broncos and Redskins.

This would be a logical place for Penny to go.

If he somehow slips to the middle of the round, Detroit (51) or Buffalo (53 and 56) could be waiting.

The waiting game is the hardest part
Cornerback Kameron Kelly, fullback Nick Bawden and tight end David Wells are SDSU’s other top draft prospects. All three joined Penny in February at the NFL Combine.

Kelly has been projected as a third- to fifth-round draft pick. Bawden and Wells are viewed as seventh-round prospects.

“I’m going to definitely be by a TV,” Bawden said. “I’ll be watching the whole time because I became friends with a lot of guys at different places I trained and at the Senior Bowl and the combine, so I’ll be watching for them the first couple of days.”

Bawden said he had predraft visits with Atlanta and the Giants, but said “it’s impossible to tell (where he might be drafted) because so many things can change on draft day. ... I want to go anywhere that I’ll have the most opportunity to play.”

Wells proved himself as a reliable pass catcher who can get open downfield. He’s also an able blocker.

“I’m anxious to see where I end up,” said Wells, who had workouts with the Cowboys and Eagles. “It would be nice to be drafted, but I’m ready for whatever happens. I’m just ready to get going and play some football.”

Other SDSU players eyeing the NFL, as free agent signings if not draft picks, include wide receiver Mikah Holder, offensive lineman Antonio Rosales, defensive lineman Sergio Phillips and tight end Darryl Richardson.


Feb 1, 2015
There is zero chance five or six running backs are as good as Penny. If injuries don't ruin him early, Penny is a Hall of Famer. It is the same way I felt about Faulk.