NAME: Trevor Penning
POSITION: Offensive Tackle
SCHOOL: Northern Iowa
WEIGHT: 323 lbs
CLASS: Redshirt Senior
HOMETOWN: Clear Lake, Iowa
HIGH SCHOOL: Newman Catholic
Trevor Penning started out playing defensive end in high school and eventually converted to the offensive line. It’s unclear whether or not he was pursued by any other teams besides Northern Iowa. Penning came into NIU weighing 280 pounds and has put on a solid 40 extra pounds in his time at college. Has a chance to be the highest drafted player in Northern Iowa history.
Pass Protection – 60: Penning has good form in his pass protection. He does well when handling rushes to his inside and stunts. He does well in dealing with a variety of pass rusher moves (i.e. bull rush, swim, rip, club, etc.). His biggest struggles at the pro level are going to be twitchy pass rushers who can beat him around the edge. While he has good form, he lacks the speed on his kickbacks to stop faster pass rushers. I can definitely see him struggling some at the next level with pass rushers who are known to be a handful in the pros.
Run Blocking – 45: This has been and will be something to improve upon for Penning. Thankfully he has greatly improved from the 2019 season because that was rough to watch at points. There is still room to improve even though improvements have been made. Penning needs to work on his quickness at getting to the next level and his ability to change direction while out in space. He is currently more useful in the trenches rather than getting upfield. He does an amazing job at sealing gaps and keeping defenders from reaching the ball carrier.
Movement – 55: Penning has phenomenal lateral movement. When it comes to moving side to side he is amazing. He can really put himself in good positions to block incoming defenders. His movement suffers when he has to go into the second level, he is rather sluggish. He could also do better with his kickbacks in pass protection. Those too at times can be sluggish.
Power – 70: While Penning is not super strong in run blocking, he is extremely powerful when he gets his hands on someone. He uses his strength and body size really well and does a great job of shutting players down. His power is really on display when he is blocking in the gaps. Penning does a great job of latching onto a defender and moving them out of the way/out of the play.
Hand Placement – 55: He draws the occasional holding penalty but nothing out of the ordinary. The biggest knock that I have against him is he doesn’t always initiate contact first. There are plenty of times when pass rushers can get into his chest and cause problems. Room to improve there.
Finishing – 70: He is an absolute bully to defenders. If he gets his hands on you he is going to drive you into the ground if he can or at least drive you out of the play. He has a mean streak and it shows. Many coaches have said that he is one of the nastiest offensive linemen they have seen come through their program.
Anchor – 60: When it comes to anchoring at times his balance is lacking. Push-pull moves are his weakness and are something he struggles in defending. He is top-heavy sometimes and that definitely can be exposed.
Frame – 70: Penning has great length and great size for the position. I do wonder if it would be possible for him to maybe lose some of the weight just to see if it can make him quicker. Penning has stated himself that this is something he needs to work on in preparation for the draft.
Awareness – 60: Hasn’t really shown any flaws on this. There have been a handful of times where he has a decision to make on who he is going to help out in a zone-blocking scheme, and at times he picks the wrong person to help and a tight end gets wrecked by a defender. Nothing major to point out.
Feet – 45: Balance is something this guy really needs to work on. Out in space and when pass protections breakdown is a major weakness. His inability to change direction at a quick enough speed has proven to be an issue. Also, there are times where he can get overly aggressive and get his chest over his feet, causing him to go to the ground. He definitely could work to become more graceful.
Final Grade: 6.95
Round Grade: 3rd
Summary: After watching the 2019 tape of Penning I was really hoping for an improvement because it was not the best tape to watch. Much to my liking, there was a definite sign of improvement and you could definitely tell there was something different about him. For me where the rubber meets the road with Penning is whether or not he is going to be able to go up against faster pass rushers and whether or not he can work on being quicker in his movement at different levels. If he can get those two things down he is going to be set for the pros. If not, I feel he is really going to struggle. There are some people that have him in the first or second round but right now it is hard to see him going that early. He has a high ceiling which may cause teams to take a chance on him earlier than they probably should. It’s hard to see him being an instant starter in the NFL, but he can definitely work his way into being a consistent starting lineman. As of now, I have him with a 3rd round grade. He definitely has the drive and has what it takes to be an offensive lineman in the NFL, however, I don’t see an instant impact. He is an investment that might take a year or two to get fully acclimated.
Follow Austin on Twitter @ArmchairAustin.