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POSITION REVIEWS

Penny proves he's among elite RBs in draft

Mon, Feb 26, 2018

Executive Director Phil Savage spent 20 years in the National Football League as a coach, scout, executive and general manager. Prior to the Combine, he will evaluate the Reese’s Senior Bowl practice sessions and game, position-by-position, for both the North and South squads. 

An interesting mix of ball carriers arrived in Mobile with three tailbacks and a fullback on each roster.

Immediate Contributors 

#20 Rashaad Penny/San Diego St (S) 5110/224        H-9 1/8            A-31 4/8          WS-75 3/8
A really good player, Rashaad demonstrated his ability to run inside and outside, to block and catch passes during his experience in Mobile. He has enough bulk to run between-the-tackles with the vision and instincts to set up blocks and get to the 2nd level of the defense. He should be able to get on the field and help a team right away in 2018. Clearly, the most talented tailback in this year’s RSB game, he was named South Co-Most Outstanding Player along with LSU WR D.J. Chark.

1-on-1 Pass Routes-    Wins: 2            Losses: 4
1-on-1 Blitz Pickup-     Wins: 3            Losses: 4

Game Stats: 9att/64yds/7.1avg/1rec/73yds/td
Reese’s Pieces: After sharing the SDSU backfield with the NCAA’s all-time leading rusher, Donnel Pumphrey, in 2016, Rashaad exploded as a senior with 2248 yards on 289 carries (7.8avg) with 23 touchdowns this season.

Committee Members

#27 Kalen Ballage/Arizona State (N) 6021/222        H-9 6/8            A-33 2/8          WS-77
Kalen has imposing size and flashed quickness and pass receiving ability, especially during the 1-on-1 drills. If an NFL club can tap into his potential, he could possibly emerge as a legit player at the next level.

1-on-1 Pass Routes-    Wins: 9            Losses: 2
1-on-1 Blitz Pickup-     Wins: 2            Losses: 0

Reese’s Pieces: For his career, Kalen rushed for 1984 yards on 450 attempts (4.4avg) with 27 touchdowns, while catching 82 passes for 684 yards (8.3avg) and 2 more scores. In the RSB game, he led the North with 57 yards on 10 carries.

#21 Jaylen Samuels/NC State (N)      5114/223        H-8 7/8            A-31 3/8          WS-76 4/8
One of my favorite “football players” of this entire draft, Jaylen is extremely versatile as a runner, blocker and pass catcher. After playing mostly H-back and fullback at NCSU, he spent the bulk of his RSB time as a tailback. Certainly not elite in any particular area, but has everything except big speed and knows how to play.

1-on-1 Pass Routes-    Wins: 6            Losses: 4
1-on-1 Blitz Pickup-     Wins: 2            Losses: 0 

Reese’s Pieces: Incredibly, Jaylen latched on to 202 passes during his Wolfpact career for 1855 yards (9.2avg) and 19 touchdowns, while also accounting for 1103 rushing yards on 181 carries (6.1avg) and 28 more scores.

#25 Akrum Wadley/Iowa (N)             5097/188        H-8 1/8            A-29 7/8          WS-72 7/8
This former Hawkeye has exceptional quickness and should be able to help as a situational, 3rd down back for an NFL team in 2018. He does not have great girth or power inside, but is willing to run inside.

1-on-1 Pass Routes-    Wins: 6            Losses: 6
1-on-1 Blitz Pickup-     Wins: 0            Losses: 2

Reese’s Pieces: Akrum posted back-to-back 1000-yard rushing seasons and finished his career with 2872 yards on 536 attempts (5.4avg) with 28 touchdowns and also grabbed 71 passes for 761 yards (10.7avg) and 7 more six-pointers. In 2017, he also averaged 30.1 ypa on 9 kickoff returns, so that will part of his pro package as well.

#28 Darrel Williams/LSU (S)              5110/229        H-9 1/8            A-30 7/8          WS-73
Darrel is a bigger back who hails from a school that has produced numerous NFL runners in the past. This former LSU tailback has the physical size and power to pound the football inside with enough versatility as a pass catcher and core special teams’ player to make a 53-man roster as a rookie.

1-on-1 Pass Routes-    Wins: 4            Losses: 1
1-on-1 Blitz Pickup-     Wins: 3            Losses: 2

Reese’s Pieces: Darrel topped 100 yards as a rusher and receiver in the Tigers’ win over Ole Miss in 2017 and finished his senior season with 820 yards on 145 attempts (5.7avg) with 9 touchdowns and 331 yards on 23 receptions (14.4avg).

#25 Ito Smith/Southern Miss (S)        5090/201        H-9 3/8            A-28 7/8          WS-73 1/8
Despite his scat-back size, Ito shows fight as an inside runner and pass protector. A multi-purposed player, he is a productive runner and receiver that can fit in with an established group of backs next year as a likely third day draft pick.

1-on-1 Pass Routes-    Wins: 3            Losses: 4
1-on-1 Blitz Pickup-     Wins: 4            Losses: 1

Reese’s Pieces: A native of Mobile who prepped at McGill-Toolen, Ito posted huge numbers at USM where he rushed for 4536 yards on 820 carries (5.5avg) and 42 touchdowns, while also catching 140 passes for 1446 yards (10.3avg) and 7 more scores.

Functional Fullbacks

#36 Dimitri Flowers/Oklahoma (N)    6016/253        H-9 2/8            A-31                WS-75 3/8
Dimitri is a versatile athlete at the fullback and H-back positions. He is capable of lining up as a lead blocker or detaching as a wing or slotted receiver. Because of his size and pass catching skills, he can potentially save a roster spot as a fullback/tight end combo next season 

1-on-1 Pass Routes-    Wins: 5            Losses: 3
1-on-1 Blitz Pickup-     Wins: 1            Losses: 1

Reese’s Pieces: The son of former 2000 first round draft pick, Erik Flowers (Arizona State and Buffalo Bills), he earned All-Big 12 recognition for three straight seasons, while accumulating 54 receptions for 886 yards (16.4avg) and 13 touchdowns to go along with 36 carries for 151 yards (4.2avg) and 4 additional TD’s.

#15 Nick Bawden/San Diego St (S)     6017/244        H-9                  A-30 3/8          WS-72 6/8
Nick is more of a true throwback style of fullback because of his effectiveness as a lead blocker from the backfield or from an H-back position. A very physical player, he understands the difference between power and angle blocking, which should translate well to the NFL.

1-on-1 Pass Routes-    Wins: 1            Losses: 6
1-on-1 Blitz Pickup-     Wins: 4            Losses: 2

Reese’s Pieces: Originally recruited as a quarterback, Nick made the transition to fullback and became a two-year starter for the Aztecs where he led the way for Donnel Pumphrey and Rashaad Penny. As a senior, he chipped in with 15 pass receptions for 103 yards (6.9avg) and 1 touchdown and helped SDSU to a 10-3 record.