Seahawks Draft Profile: Trevor Penning

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With the launch of the 2022 NFL Draft in Las Vegas on Thursday, April 28, the Seahawks will have the chance to kick off a new era for the franchise with eight selections, including one top-10 pick and four total top-three picks. Sleeves.

Over the next month ahead of draft weekend, the AllSeahawks writing staff will feature detailed profiles on numerous prospects who could be targets on Seattle’s big board.

Next in the series, the Seahawks have gaping holes at two tackle points with only three players currently lined up at the position. Could the team turn the tables by using a high pick on a remarkable small school in Trevor Penning, Northern Iowa?

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Standing out in three sports at Newman Catholic High School, Penning only received two Division I offers despite being selected by the first-team all-district. He signed up at Northern Iowa and donned a redshirt as a rookie before working his way into the starting lineup as the second redshirt in 2019. After a 2020 season shortened by COVID-19 during which he started five games, earned honorable mention All-MVC recognition and landed on Bruce Feldman’s College Football Freaks roster. Taking a big step forward as a senior, he earned multiple All-American awards and an invite to Reese’s Senior Bowl where he turned heads against college football’s best in Mobile.

Strengths

Playing with an old school mentality while possessing new scholastic athletic traits, Penning leaps onto the film as an intimidating presence who fights until the whistle blows. He’s finished countless plays in Northern Iowa with the defender in front of him ending up with his back on the ground and when he’s squared and lands a pinpoint strike into the opponent’s chest with his hands powerful, it’s over as his physique, powerful lower body, and wickedness takes over from there.

While not the fastest off the foot compared to other top tackles in this year’s draft class from a lateral quickness standpoint, the 6-foot-7 Penning uses his 34 1/4 arms inches with great efficiency to attenuate the enemy’s bursts of speed. and makes it difficult for opposing defenders to turn the corner against him. When he exhibits good posture and avoids standing too straight, he is also difficult to move with jostling and to set a heavy anchor.

As a run blocker, Penning is a master at second-tier combo blocks and has racked up a bunch of pancakes on linebackers and safeties. At times his feistiness almost crosses the line with him throwing undersized defenders to the ground after the whistle.

Coming into the league, Penning is further from a standout instinct than most of his peers, especially when it comes to pass protection. He rarely gets fooled by twists and stunts, doing a great job of keeping his head on a pivot and passing rushers to guard to his side. He also showed a propensity for picking up blitzes, especially from linebackers shooting through the B-gap.

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Weaknesses

While Penning dominated the competition at the FCS level and had no trouble getting his hands on opposing defensive linemen, he endured his share of hardship in a matchup against Iowa State last year. His average lateral mobility showed when he tried to reach the perimeter on sweeps and throwing plays and his angles executing blocks at the line of scrimmage weren’t sharp causing him to fall blocks and missed with more hand placement than usual.

Contrary to his general excellence blocking against outside speed rushers, Penning can struggle working against inside moves, especially from edge defenders with an explosive first step. It doesn’t reflect as well as expected for an athlete of his talent and his body control suffers, leaving him vulnerable to counters such as swimming and sweeping motions and prone to holding calls.

The issues weren’t as obvious in the Senior Bowl, but leverage and balance issues plagued Penning at times throughout his college career. With above average height for a tackle, he is a hip flexor and can get caught hunching over in a compromised position in running play and pass protection.

Fit in Seattle

Like any prospect making the giant leap from FCS level to the NFL, Penning will have to fight through growing pains upon entering the league, no matter who drafts him. As a result, he may not be ready to play at the start of his rookie season, which may scare off some teams from picking him in the first round.

At the same time, however, Penning’s rare athletic profile screams top-20. Players his size rarely run sprint times under 4.90 seconds for 40 yards or post a 7.25 second 3-cone drill. Capable of playing in the tackle position in either spread or area centered patterns, he may have the highest ceiling of any tackle in this draft class with proper coaching.

Given his toughness and style of play as an aggressive run blocker, the Seahawks would seem like a perfect fit for Penning and the team has a clear and obvious need to tackle with Duane Brown and Brandon Shell still unsigned. As it stands, he could be vying for a starting job right away in either location against Stone Forsythe and Jake Curhan with a chance to become the franchise’s next blindside protector.

Previous NFL Seahawks Draft Profiles

Sam Howell, QB, North Carolina | Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa | Arnold Ebiketie, EDGE, Penn State | Tyler Allgeier, RB, BYU | Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati | Tariq Laine, BC, UTSA | Cameron Thomas, EDGE, State of San Diego


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