2022 NFL draft scouting report: Northern Iowa OT Trevor Penning

·3 min read

Northern Iowa OT Trevor Penning

6-foot-7
325 pounds

Yahoo Sports' 2022 NFL draft grade

6.25 — possible first-rounder; possible immediate-impact prospect

TL;DR scouting report

Mauling, nasty left tackle with textbook NFL frame and good athletic traits, although he dominated at the FCS level

The skinny

A 0-star Rivals recruit in the Class of 2017, Penning was completely overlooked in high school by bigger programs, including Iowa State, which was about an hour down the road. He signed with UNI and redshirted in 2017 as he transformed his body, putting on nearly 100 pounds over his time there. After getting four games of action in 2018, he earned a starting role in 2019 — the opener at right guard and the next 13 games at left tackle. He'd remain there for the 2021 spring and fall seasons, playing a combined 17 games and earning a Senior Bowl invite and being named a Walter Payton Award finalist.

Northern Iowa OT Trevor Penning turned in a strong performance at the NFL combine. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
Northern Iowa OT Trevor Penning turned in a strong performance at the NFL combine. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

Upside

  • Gifted specimen with great weight distribution, elite core strength and flexibility

  • Broad frame with tremendous length — 34 1/4-arms and 10 1/8-inch hands

  • Natural athlete who can move with explosive burst

  • Strong NFL combine workout — excellent numbers in 40 (4.89 seconds), 10-yard split (1.65), agility drills

  • Rag dolls defenders with leverage, power and temperament

  • Truly nasty play style — plays through the echo of the whistle (and sometimes beyond)

  • Aggravated Senior Bowl defenders, many of whom he buried, all week in practice

  • Comes out firing on his first snap, looking to set a tone early

  • Hard punch can shock defenders out of the gate

  • Gets low as a run blocker and sinks his hips to maximize power

  • Can turn defenders perpendicular to the line of scrimmage

  • Moves pretty well as puller and on screens — gets to where he needs to go

  • Great fit in man-blocking schemes

  • Plenty of left tackle experience — also started multiple games at right guard

  • Looked the part in steps up in competition — 2021 opener vs. Iowa State, Senior Bowl practices

  • Weight-room junkie who packed on ton of mass in college — set program squat record

  • Mentally tough — played through injuries and almost never missed time

Downside

  • Level of competition less than ideal

  • Opponents often flipped their worst pass rusher to his side in obvious throwing situations

  • Plays a little too hard at times — easy target for flags with frequent post-play kerfuffles

  • 34 penalties over three seasons, including 16 last season — a whopping total

  • 28-inch vertical jump was disappointing

  • Pass-blocking technique could use some refinement

  • Seldom tested in college by blazing edge-rush speed and quickness

  • Gets a little high in pass pro

  • Struggles to get outside to execute reach blocks

  • Will mistime his hands and overshoot

  • Will be 23-year-old rookie

Best-suited destination

Penning fits best at tackle in our minds, although he could be serviceable at guard if needed. Ideally, he'd be featured in an offense that embraces the power run game and where he could receive occasional help in pass protection as Penning adjusts to NFL edge speed. He might have some early lumps, but Penning could be a Day 1 starter who works through some issues as a rookie and is ready for primetime in Year 2.

Did you know

Penning can windmill dunk. Really.

Player comp

Penning is cut from the same cloth as Taylor Lewan, but perhaps not quite as NFL-ready Lewan was coming out

Expected draft range

Top 20, with a shot at the top 10