The New Orleans Saints spent the 19th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft on Trevor Penning. The offensive tackle out of Northern Iowa was an intriguing prospect because of the potential he flashed while in college but hailing from a small school was certainly reason to be wary of drafting him in the first round.
The Saints went ahead and brought Penning in and so far, he's been a total bust. He's appeared in just 23 games and was benched after six games during the 2023 season despite entering the season as the team's best option at left tackle.
As painful as it may be, let's take a look at five players the Saints could have had instead of Penning. To qualify for this list, players still had to be on the board when the Saints took Penning 19th overall.
Two picks after the Saints took Penning, the Kansas City Chiefs moved up to the 21st pick to nab Trent McDuffie, a cornerback out of Washington. Since joining the Chiefs in 2022, McDuffie has looked to be on his way to being a shutdown corner in the NFL.
In 2022, PFF gave McDuffie an overall grade of 73.6 with a coverage grade of 76.0. This past season, he received an overall grade of 82.9 with a coverage grade of 78.3. There's a reason KC moved up to get McDuffie and they're reaping the benefits.
The Saints have had decent secondaries in recent years but could you imagine how they'd look with McDuffie in the mix as well? This was a missed opportunity by New Orleans to further increase the toughness of their secondary.
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