Saints fill left tackle void with Northern Iowa’s Trevor Penning as 19th overall pick

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Trevor Penning

Losing standout left tackle Terron Armstead to free agency left a very big hole for the Saints to fill.

New Orleans did just that but drafting a very big man Thursday night.

With the 19th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, the Saints selected Northern Iowa’s Trevor Penning.

The 6-foot-7, 325-pound Penning may be a small school prospect but he has elite measureables to go with his huge frame.

Penning is also a mean and nasty mauler with work to do on the tecnical aspects of the position but he is everything scouts seek in a left tackle prospect. Three-year starter at left tackle with outstanding measurables on a low-cut, well-built frame. Penning plays with a level of disgust for anyone lining up against him and seeks out violent block finishes when possible. He’s athletic enough to block on the move and has the potential to shine as a powerful drive blocker. Size, length and know-how have been more than enough to ward off FCS pass rushers, but he needs to operate with better inside-out positioning while developing much firmer edges to succeed against a more talented group of quarterback hunters. Penning has both traits and toughness but the tape can leave you wanting just a little more from him. He should become an instant starter at left or right tackle but the jump in competition will take time to navigate.

An unnamed NFC executive said, “Don’t overthink it when you write him up. He’s got size, length, toughness, he’s smart, he works his tail off, and loves to play football. That is what you look for in a starting tackle.”

Perhaps that executive works for the Saints? Regardless, the Black and Gold now have their blind side protector of the future.

Penning joins Ohio State receiver Chris Olave as the two Saints first day picks. New Orleans traded up from No. 16 to No. 11 to secure the speedy playmaker.

New Orleans Saints 2022 NFL Draft
Round One Notes

• With the 11th pick overall, which was acquired from the Washington Commanders tonight in exchange for the 16th, 98th and 120th overall picks in the 2022 NFL Draft, New Orleans selected Ohio State WR Chris Olave and with the 19th pick, they selected Northern Iowa T Trevor Penning.
• This was the seventh time in franchise history that New Orleans selected two players in the first round of the NFL Draft. The other years this occurred was 2017 (CB Marshon Lattimore and T Ryan Ramczyk), 2015 (G Andrus Peat and LB Stephone Anthony), 2011 (DE Cameron Jordan and RB Mark Ingram), 2002 (DE Charles Grant and WR Donte’ Stallworth), 1993 (T William Roaf and TE Irv Smith) and 1975 (WR Larry Burton and G Kurt Schumacher).
• Olave was the first wideout taken in the first round by New Orleans since Brandin Cooks in 2014.
• Olave is only the eighth wide receiver taken in the first round by New Orleans all-time and the 71st wideout selected by the club all-time.
• Olave is the 17th Ohio State player picked in draft by New Orleans. The 17 Buckeyes picked in the first round are tied for the most by the Saints with Nebraska and Southern California.
• Olave joins fellow Buckeyes in CB Marshon Lattimore, WR Michael Thomas and TE Nick Vannett on the Saints roster.
• In four seasons at Ohio State, Olave finished his college career with 176 receptions for 2,711 yards (15.4 avg.) with 35 touchdowns over 47 games (24 starts).
• In 2021 as a senior, Olave was a first-team American Football Coaches Association All-American and consensus second-team All-American, catching 65 passes for 936 yards and 13 touchdowns, tied for sixth nationally in scoring grabs.
• As a junior in 2020, the San Ysidro, Calif. native played in only seven games (seven starts) and managed 50 receptions for 729 yards (14.6 avg.) and seven touchdowns, as Ohio State advanced to the College Football Playoff Championship game. In the semifinal win over Clemson, Olave caught six passes for 132 yards and two touchdowns.
• As a sophomore in 2019, Olave caught 49 passes for 849 yards (17.3 avg.) and 12 touchdowns.
• With the selection of Penning, it is the second time in three years that New Orleans has selected an offensive lineman in the first round of the NFL Draft after picking G/C Cesar Ruiz in 2020. Penning is the eighth tackle to be picked by New Orleans in the first round, joining Ryan Ramczyk (2017), Andrus Peat (2015), Jammal Brown (2005), Kyle Turley (1998), Roaf, Jim Dombrowski (1986) and Stan Brock (1980). He is the 44th tackle selected all-time by New Orleans.
• Penning is the first player ever selected from Northern Iowa. Northern Iowa is the 172nd college or university that the Saints have selected a player from.
• The 6-7, 329-pound Penning Played in 37 career games with 33 starts, opening his final 33 college contests at Northern Iowa.
• In 2021, he opened all 12 contests and was a consensus FCS All-American selection. He was a consensus All-American and was the only offensive lineman named as a finalist for the Walter Payton Award, presented to the FCS national offensive player of the year.
• The Clear Lake, Iowa native played his junior campaign in the spring of 2021 and started five games at left tackle and one at right tackle, as he was named honorable mention All-Missouri Valley Football Conference.

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