What does a young, hungry, and feisty rookie look like in NFL training camp? New Orleans Saints’ Trevor Penning.
The 2022 first-round pick is attracting all the attention this offseason as he competes for the starting left tackle job against veteran James Hurst. NOLA drafted Penning as a raw and unrefined offensive tackle, and Penning still has a long way to go before he becomes a reliable starting-caliber player in the trenches.
Back at Northern Iowa, Penning developed a reputation for being a bit of a nasty player, and he showed that right off the bat on the Saints’ first day in pads.
During the combine, Penning was asked to describe himself in three words and he chose: physical, nasty, prick.
All things considered, NOLA knew exactly what they were getting in a tackle like Penning.
Saints’ Trevor Penning is already ruffling feathers in 2022 training camp
Penning told reporters of his demeanor:
"“I feel like that’s how football needs to be played. You can’t go out there and be Mr. Nice Guy. You have to let them know it’s coming. I think that’s how football is meant to be played. It’s made for big, tough guys. Like myself.”"
It’s fair to say Penning hasn’t changed one bit as he ticked off more than one defensive lineman at practice on Monday. Yet many would argue he’s bringing the perfect attitude to camp to battle for a starting job, and his feistiness only replicates that of in-game scenarios.
Penning could potentially secure one of the football’s most important positions as Jameis Winston’s blindside blocker, and the team should hope he terrorizes opponents with his physical play.
Penning has the athletic measurables to succeed as a left tackle, but he still has to refine his skillset as a pass protector and balanced run blocker. Despite being just a rookie, Penning could realistically beat out James Hurst for the left tackle job and get his NFL career off to a roaring start.
The rest of the line feels fairly solid with Ryan Ramczyk, Cesar Ruiz, Erik McCoy, and Andrus Peat returning as starters. Of all the offensive linemen, Penning clearly has the most to prove and he won’t go down without a fight.