Saints rookie Trevor Penning has to earn the starting LT job

Trevor Penning - Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Trevor Penning - Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

The New Orleans Saints spent the 19th overall pick on Trevor Penning in the 2022 NFL Draft. Can the rookie out of Northern Iowa win the starting gig? 

Arguably the biggest loss to the New Orleans Saints roster this offseason was Terron Armstead, who signed a massive deal with the Dolphins. That left an opening at left tackle that the team needed to fill and they’re hoping that rookie Trevor Penning can be the one to fill it.

While the team spent a first-round pick on the Northern Iowa product, it’s been made clear that he won’t have a free ride to the starting gig. He’ll have to beat out veteran James Hurst for the job and head coach Dennis Allen said on Friday that Hurst is currently slated to be the starter.

While Hurst is tabbed as the current starter, Penning will have plenty of chances to win the job. The two are splitting first-team reps in practice and it won’t be until preseason that we’ll see who has the official edge.

Saints rookie Trevor Penning has to win starting job fair and square

It’s hard for a rookie to man the left tackle spot so it wouldn’t be shocking to see New Orleans go with James Hurst at least initially.

At the same time, however, the team spent one of their first-round selections on Penning with the hopes that he could fill that role for the next half-decade. It might seem like a waste to have him on the sidelines but it’s better for that to happen than for him to step into a role that he’s not ready for.

The Saints’ offensive line went from one of the best in the league to now boasting one of the more questionable units in the league and that’s because of Armstead’s departure. Left tackles are one of the most important positions in the NFL and the Saints are either going to have a rookie there or a backup veteran manning the role. That’s not a great position to be in but hopefully, we see an impressive season from Penning.

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Will Trevor Penning end up as the starter when Week 1 rolls around?