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A ‘luxury pick’ (whatever that means)? National media weigh in on Seahawks drafting Rashaad Penny

RENTON, Wash. – The Seattle Seahawks’ first-round draft pick would’ve been a fantastic second-round draft pick, if you listen to what the national media are saying.

But then again, what do they know?

Seattle, never known for making the conventional selection, chose San Diego State running back Rashaad Penny with the No. 27 overall pick Thursday after making a trade with the Green Bay Packers to move down in the first round.

Penny was the top rusher in the nation last year, but some analysts expressed concerns about the fact he mostly did it against smaller schools, as well as his perceived lack of blocking ability and a bit of a penchant to lose control of the football.

Perhaps it goes without saying: Take all of these comments with a very large grain of salt.

The New York Times called it "the worst pick of the first round."

The worst pick of the first round, according to the experts? Rashaad Penny, a running back taken by the Seahawks at No. 27. CBS gave the pick a C, and that was the high point. He also got a C-, a D+ and three Ds. Many felt Penny was a solid player but that wasting a first-round pick on a decent running back was a mistake. “Penny was seen as a second- or third-round prospect among teams,” wrote Walter Football. GPA: 1.33.

The Sporting News’ Vinnie Iyer called this a “luxury pick they couldn’t afford” for the Seahawks:

Penny could continue his college shine in the NFL, but the Seahawks had bigger needs in the secondary and along the offensive line, and there were worthy options from both positions before they traded back to No. 27. They also don't pick again until the third round, where they could have found a good value for the backfield, probably Penny. The Seahawks should be in rebuilding mode, yet they went luxury. Heck, even wide receiver or tight end would have made more sense.

USA Today’s Lorenzo Reyes used precisely the same terminology – a luxury pick. (If you have any idea what that actually means, please let us know.)

Seattle is a team in transition with several holes to fill, so spending the No. 27 pick on San Diego State running back Rashaad Penny was a luxury selection for a franchise that desperately needs defensive help. Losing cornerback Richard Sherman, defensive end Michael Bennett and defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson has depleted the unit, and more hits could be coming with Chancellor and defensive end Cliff Avril dealing with potential career-threatening injuries. Even if coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider were set on taking a running back, Penny still likely could have been targeted by the team had it traded back again and added more assets for a rebuild.

Bleacher Report described the pick a little differently, calling it “unconventional.”

Was their red-zone failure because of their ragtag group of offensive linemen, or was it because of their running back stable? With an unconventional pick, the Seahawks voted that their best option to solve the issue was with an addition to their backfield. This is particularly significant considering the fact Seattle general manager John Schneider hasn't selected a non-lineman in the first round since 2010.

ESPN’s Brady Henderson viewed the pick more favorably.

The Seahawks addressed a need by drafting an uber-productive player and added draft capital by trading back initially. You can’t feel too bad about that even if more pressing needs remain.

NFLDraftScout.com’s Rob Rang, who is working as an analyst for Q13 during the draft, said he’d been discussing Penny for months, but still called it the biggest surprise of the first round.

Penny's ability to impact the game on all four downs (he was a three-time Mountain West Conference Special Teams Player of the Year), experience in a traditional I-formation offense and the relative lack of punishment he's absorbed at San Diego State all earned him a higher grade on Seattle's board than other, more nationally-recognized backs.

Rodger Sherman of the Ringer was … not enthused about the pick.

It was a confusing selection—few considered Penny the second-best running back in the draft, and the Seahawks have plenty of other needs besides running back. Anytime you can use a first-round pick to fill a non-pressing gap with a not-highly-regarded player at a non-important position, you gotta do it.

People on Twitter had a lot to say about Penny as well, but we’ll spare you all that. The draft returns to Q13 FOX on Friday afternoon, beginning with our Draft Day special at 3 p.m. and wrapping up with a post-draft recap after rounds 2 and 3 conclude.