Trevor Penning not yet an option at guard for the Saints

Trevor Penning’s NFL career has not gone as planned. The 2022 first-round pick only started one game in his rookie year, and the New Orleans Saints benched him after just six starts last season. Now he’s going into Year 3 without a spot guaranteed in the starting lineup. So what’s the plan for him? What can he do to ditch the dreaded “bust” label?

Will Penning move inside to guard in 2024, or is he still training to play at left tackle? Is he still seen as a tackle at all? How does Mickey Loomis answer that question?

“Yeah,” Loomis confirmed when asked exactly that during Tuesday’s pre-draft press conference. He continued, reflecting on the start to Penning’s offseason: “Yeah, it’s gone well. There’s a lot of offseason left here. We have a new offensive staff, new offensive line coaches, I think they’re anxious to get to work with him once we’re able to get on the field.”

Penning made gradual improvement last season in pass protection, but he didn’t improve quickly enough to stick in the starting lineup. What’s more concerning is that he never found his footing when blocking for run plays. That was supposed to be his strength coming out of college but the Saints struggled to run behind him.

But moving him to a new position isn’t the answer — at least not yet. If Penning can’t find his way in Klint Kubiak’s outside zone-heavy offense with tutelage from veteran coaches like John Benton and Rick Dennison, and Jahri Evans, then it’ll be time to try a different approach. At the same time, if there’s any chance he can develop into a reliable starter at left tackle, it’s worth pursuing. The Saints are in very rough shape at both tackle spots right now and Penning being able to put out one of those fires would do a lot to help. And as Loomis said, it all really starts when coaches and players kick off field work in just a few weeks.

Story originally appeared on Saints Wire