Trevor Penning Drafted by Saints: New Orleans' Updated Depth Chart After Round 1

Adam WellsApril 29, 2022

Northern Iowa offensive lineman Trevor Penning stretches before a drill at an NCAA college football pro day, Monday, March 21, 2022, in Cedar Falls, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall

Trevor Penning is going to be an anchor on the offensive line for the New Orleans Saints after being selected with the 19th overall pick in the 2022 NFL draft. 

New Orleans Saints @Saints

With the 19th pick of the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NFLDraft?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NFLDraft</a>, the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Saints?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Saints</a> select Northern Iowa OL Trevor Penning!<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SaintsDraft?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SaintsDraft</a>⚜️ <a href="https://twitter.com/CoxComm?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@CoxComm</a> <a href="https://t.co/Bo6QWiWbjF">pic.twitter.com/Bo6QWiWbjF</a>

The 22-year-old was a three-year starter at Northern Iowa. He had a breakout season as a redshirt junior in 2021 when he was named to the All-Missouri Valley Conference first team. He was also a finalist for the Walter Payton Award, given to the most outstanding FCS player. 

Playing at the FCS level made it harder for Penning to get the same kind of attention as other top offensive tackles in this class, but his performance made it impossible for the NFL to ignore. 

Here is what the Saints' depth chart looks like with Penning added to the mix. 

QB: Jameis Winston, Andy Dalton, Ian Book

RB: Alvin Kamara, Mark Ingram II, Tony Jones Jr., Josh Adams

FB: Adam Prentice

WR 1: Michael Thomas, Deonte Harty, Kawaan Baker

WR 2: Marquez Callaway, Lil'Jordan Humphrey

WR 3: Tre'Quan Smith, Kevin White

TE: Taysom Hill, Adam Trautman, Nick Vannett

LT: Trevor Penning, James Hurst, Ethan Greenidge

LG: Andrus Peat, Calvin Throckmorton

C: Erik McCoy, Cesar Ruiz

RG: Cesar Ruiz, Calvin Throckmorton

RT: Ryan Ramczyk, Landon Young

B/R's NFL draft scouting department had Penning ranked as the fifth-best offensive tackle and No. 29 overall prospect in the 2022 class. 

In his B/R scouting report for the Panthers star, Brandon Thorn wrote that his skill set compares favorably to Los Angeles Chargers guard Matt Feiler: 

"Penning does a nice job of snatching defenders who lean in pass protection, with the ability to drop his hips and anchor quickly. He imposes his will and dominates competition with overwhelming size and torque, but he has occasional lapses where he appears to go through the motions, letting defenders slip blocks too easily."

Northern Iowa has done a good job of producing NFL talent recently. This is the second consecutive year that players from the school have been selected in the draft. Spencer Brown (Buffalo Bills) and Elerson Smith (New York Giants) were drafted last year. 

Penning is the program's first-ever first-round pick, though. Brad Meester previously held the record as the Panthers' highest-drafted player when he was selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the second round in 2000 (No. 60 overall). 

After years of pushing money into the future, the Saints' cap crunch has started to catch up with the roster lately. They have lost Trey Hendrickson, Marcus Williams, Emmanuel Sanders and Terron Armstead as free agents in the past two years. 

Armstead was the big loss this offseason when he signed with the Miami Dolphins. He was a three-time Pro Bowler in nine seasons with the Saints and is generally regarded as one of the best left tackles in the NFL. 

With Jameis Winston returning to New Orleans as the starting quarterback in 2022, a dominant offensive line that can shut down opposing pass-rushers is essential because he's often a statue in the pocket. 

Penning can slot in as the starting left tackle for the Saints in 2022, though he could also end up at either guard spot. He gives them rare upside at one of the most important positions on the field.