Meet No. 20, Rashaad Penny: ‘I had a chip on my shoulder, and I still have a chip’

RENTON, Wash. – The Seattle Seahawks wanted to improve their running game, so they went out and drafted the guy who was statistically the best running back in college football last season.

Rashaad Penny, whom the Seahawks drafted in the first round with the No. 27 overall pick, led the nation with 2,248 yards last season at San Diego State, and added 23 rushing touchdowns for good measure.

“I trained so hard to get ready for the (NFL) Combine,” Penny said after the draft. “It was to prove to a lot of people that I’m better than a lot of people in the nation. I had a chip on my shoulder, and I still have a chip because I feel like I’m not getting respected. I can’t wait to see where this takes off from here.”

The 5-foot-11, 220-pound Penny is only the second player the Seahawks picked in the first round in the last six years. He’s in elite company; the only other running backs the Seahawks ever drafted in the first round were Shaun Alexander and Curt Warner.

Penny finished fifth in the Heisman voting, was named first-team All American, and earned All-Mountain-West honors last season.

Penny will see a familiar face twice a year; his brother, full back Elijhaa Penny, plays fullback for the NFC West rival Arizona Cardinals.