2022 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Trevor Penning

Trevor Penning

The Senior Bowl is a great place for smaller-school players to stand out. This is exactly what happened for Northern Iowa’s Trevor Penning. The former Panther was not even rated coming out of high school, and now he was one of the best players in Mobile. Rep after rep Penning dominated and saw his stock soar. Now, Penning may be a first-round pick in this upcoming draft and is one of the most unique players out there. 

Make sure to check out all of our other NFL Draft Scouting Reports.

Player Bio

Name: Trevor Penning
Jersey: No. 70
Position: Offensive Tackle
School: Northern Iowa
Class: Senior
Height: 6’7″
Weight: 340 lbs

Games Watched: Southern Illinois (2021), Iowa State (2021), North Dakota State (2021)

Major Injury History: None

Player Breakdown

Pass Blocking (14/15)

For someone with such size, you’d expect Penning to be a better run blocker than pass blocker naturally. This is very far from true. Penning does an exceptional job in the pass block game. When he’s facing a bigger defensive lineman with more power, Penning will eat that bull rush and counter right back. When it’s a speed rusher trying to bend around Penning, he shuffles his way and sets up what looks like a wall between the defensive lineman and quarterback. Some regard Penning as a developmental player, but this is an awfully strong start. 

Run Blocking (11.25/15)

A mauler like Penning shouldn’t have this many inconsistencies against the run. Quite frankly, the only reason the grade is so high here is because of the potential. Penning’s frame, power, and competitive attitude show us that he can dominate in the run game, but not yet. Penning tends to miss assignments. He’ll get mixed up in who he needs to block, and it doesn’t bode well. Penning is also not as lethal in the second level as you’d hope he’d be, which is odd because he’s got such a nasty streak upfront. Overall, the run blocking is a weakness but can become one of Penning’s strong suits fast. 

Length (14.25/15)

At 6-foot-7, Penning is a monster in the length aspect. But it’s not just the length you have; it’s how well you use it. Penning uses his length incredibly well. It’s nearly impossible to speed rush Penning because he can use his extremely long arms to shut down the oncoming defender. 

Footwork (8.75/10)

Penning has adequate footwork. He gets right into it at the snap, and there are no real issues. His side-to-side movement and shuffle are among the best in this class. What he needs to work on a little more is foot speed. You’d like to think that if he gets the foot speed mastered, Penning will be an elite pass-blocking lineman. This will also help with his balance. 

Mechanics (7.75/10)

Mechanics here involve hand placement, balance, and IQ. To start with hand placement, Penning is almost flawless. In the three games watched, he got a little too grabby with the rusher and was called for holding once, while another call was botched. As for balance, it’s decent. Penning has had his fair share of getting knocked off-base, but he’s always recovered well, and his balance should be fine at the next level. Then, we have IQ. This is what hurts him most. Penning has not done a great job when the game doesn’t come to him. Still, Penning has shown nice flashes to avenge all those weaknesses, and this is an area that is easily developed at the next level.  

Athleticism (8/10)

Penning is a serviceable athlete. People tend to give him the narrative that he is elite out in space, and it’s athleticism that makes Penning special, but this isn’t true. Now, he’s still got a lot of talent in this area. Obviously, the strength is impeccable. The negatives come moving vertically downfield. Penning can be slow in this area, and it’s a little scary for scouts to see. He has been able to pull in certain segments, but Penning will need to get quicker to be more of a threat. Otherwise, athleticism is a strength for Penning. 

Versatility (8.5/10)

In the modern NFL, teams are growing more and more comfortable to a lineman who can do it all. While Penning only played tackle at Northern Iowa, he played on both sides and saw success on both. At the Senior Bowl, we saw Penning play right guard a lot, and again both tackle positions where he dominated everywhere. 

Anchor (8.5/10)

This is a trait for Penning that has had its ups and downs. He got pushed around early against Iowa State and can be caught upright in some reps. At the same time, Penning is quick to fix these mistakes and will look like he has the best anchor of any tackle in the class. It’s hard for a guy with Penning’s size to get low and gain the low leverage, but Penning does well enough with his anchor to make this another strength. 

Control (4.25/5)

A phrase we mentioned earlier was letting the game come to Penning. This is where he thrives best. When he has to get complex in his play, Penning can be a little out of control, like against Iowa State when he was about five yards downfield on a passing RPO play. When Penning is in control, though, there’s no beating him on the rep. 

Player Summary

It’s fair to say Penning is a very high upside player. He has some inconsistencies that need to be fixed but can be. This is a guy who may have put up his best film at the Senior Bowl against the best competition he’s faced throughout his whole career. This performance alone makes you think Penning is a guy who will not escape the first round of this draft, rightfully so. While our grade sees him as an early second-rounder, the potential and size are too much for 32 teams to pass upon. Several teams could go after Penning as he can fit into almost any scheme. With time, Penning can be an amazing NFL tackle, especially if given room to develop fully. 

Rookie Projection: Developmental Right Tackle

Third-Year Projection: Mid-Tier Starting Right Tackle

Player Grade (85.25/100): Early Second-Round

Player Comparison: Taylor Lewan

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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images

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