Northern Iowa Trevor Penning is one to watch

Northern Iowa’s star left tackle has first round potential

I’m running through a long list of names I’ve compiled over the summer. One player I particularly wanted to watch was Northern Iowa’s left tackle Trevor Penning.

He was highlighted by the Senior Bowl staff and this week I decided to watch some of his stuff rather than sift through the Clemson/Georgia or Alabama/Miami games again.

Penning is without doubt a name to monitor this year, all the way through to Mobile in January. It’s possible he could work into the first round conversation.

I’ve seen him listed at 6-7 and 320lbs and he certainly looks the part, with the apparent length to match.

So what does he do well?

What really stands out is the way he gets off the ball and plays with violence when engaging defenders. He doesn’t sit and wait for the block to come to him. This aggression might need to be tempered against the best speed rushers at the next level but it’s enjoyable to see a player just get after it the way he does.

Once he connects he doesn’t mess around. His initial contact is often a jolting punch that shifts a lineman off the spot and he’ll frequently knock someone out of contain in the running game. He’s a people mover. Penning appears to have extreme upper body power and the attitude to take advantage of that.

For a man his size playing at this level, he’s surprisingly mobile. He was asked to pull and connect on the run. He’s shown he can do that and had no problem locking on to targets in space. There’s clear evidence of him progressing to the second level and looking for someone to hit.

On one snap he even went as far as to run downfield and find an unsuspecting safety to dump on his backside. It was totally unnecessary and frankly, totally brilliant too.

He’s a finisher. In fact he’s one of the best finishers at tackle I’ve seen in a long time. When he connects there’s very little hand-fighting and calling it a day. Penning wants to drive you into the turf.

I’d love to know if he’s done any martial arts because the way he so often engages a block and then tosses opponents with a flick of the hips is extremely impressive.

His kick-slide is not the most fluid but then I struggled to find example where he’s flat-out beaten by speed. There were times where I thought he was a bit slow out of the traps but then he simply tracked the rush, engaged contact and finished. He handled the spin-moves well.

At times he’s maybe a little upright. There was one occasion where a defender got into his chest with a straight-arm and the initial contact knocked him off balance. However, he simply regained his footing and slapped the arm away, before ripping the pass rusher to the turf.

His ability to go really early is going to depend on how he tests athletically. Yet watching the way he takes on linebackers who come up to the LOS — just treating them with utter disdain — I would want this guy on my team. On a couple of occasions I saw a linebacker actively turn away from contact to protect himself as Penning was approaching. I’ve not seen that before.

Northern Iowa has developed a reputation for building strong, big offensive linemen from smaller athletes. Penning has set school weightlifting records. He’s listed on Bruce Feldman’s ‘freak list’ this year, with a reported 83.5 inch wingspan. He also broke the school’s squat record with two reps at 625lbs this year.

He can also do this:

Whether he plays left or right tackle or kicks inside — this is the type of player who will help you establish authority at the LOS. It’s all going to be on testing to determine whether his eventual future is in the first frame or whether he’s available later on.

Sometimes you watch a player and simply get a lot of pleasure and satisfaction seeing how good they are. Penning is the first example of that for me in 2021.

He’s one to track but it’s possible he’ll be long gone by the time the Seahawks pick next year.

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  1. Lewis

    Feared that Gus Edwards is lost for the season. Ravens RB injuries stacking up like drummers for Spinal Tap

    • JLemere

      I think it’s the football gods telling Harbaugh and Jackson to throw the ball 50 times a game.

    • Spencer Pelfrey

      How much do you think they would give for Alex Collins?

    • Palatypus

      Or Nirvana.

  2. Spencer Pelfrey

    So Rob why do you think that he ended up at UNI instead of a blue chip program? Any issues that you saw?

    • Rob Staton

      He was just completely overlooked. Didn’t get any offers.

      And he was extremely lean. Northern Iowa doing wonders with their training program.

  3. Ashish

    TB team offense: Brown Rob evans godwin fournette Ronald jones and Brady
    Are you serious?

  4. Mick

    I’ve listened to Duane Brown’s interview (BTW he looks extremely strong) and I got a very bad vibe of “if you don’t want me to stay longer, I’ll play the year and then leave as a free agent”. So yes, it totally makes sense to look at LTs.

  5. Troy

    There Rob goes, making me excited about an oline prospect who will probably get drafted by some other team and we will see them have a long happy career while I keep thinking “fuck we coulda had him in x round”

  6. Sea Mode

    Was an interesting game. I think the NFL ultimately got what it wanted: high scoring, close all the way to the end, and Brady winning. Courtesy of Greg the Leg missing an extra point and a short field goal early on, as well as a rather questionable push-off by Godwin on the game-winning drive that wasn’t called.

    Bobby Belt

    Buccaneers are the first team in NFL history to lose the turnover margin by at least 3, incur 100 penalty yards, allow 450 yards, and still win the game.

  7. Sea Mode


    Adam Schefter

    Steelers’ OLB T.J. Watt overruled his agents who believed they could get more money today, marched into the office of Steelers president Art Rooney and told him they had a deal. Then the NFL’s new highest-paid defensive player excused himself and announced he had to go work out.

    And you gotta love JJ (when he’s not rushing your QB…) 😂

    JJ Watt

    @_TJWatt should I send those outstanding IOU’s to your accountant or do you want to just Venmo me?

    • Rob Staton

      That Schefter tweet sounds slightly dramatic and a little bit OTT.

      Almost like a parody.

      • Sea Mode

        Agree, and it makes me wonder who would have fed that to Shefty and in such colorful language (“marched into the office”, etc.). Maybe the agency to put out the message to other agents/clients that they know they left some money on the table and it wasn’t their doing? Maybe the team to show fans how they got a little “discount” and how dedicated TJ is? Definitely strange.

        • cha

          Personally I prefer the TJ story over the ‘I got a text from my momma telling me to sign the deal. And she used my full name so I know I better listen to her and take the deal’ story.

          • pdway

            I don’t know..Watt’s story is much more self-serving…

  8. Sea Mode

    I would not have been upset with this deal:

    Ian Rapoport

    The #Ravens are giving RB Latavius Murray a spot on the 53-man roster with a 1-year contract for the veteran minimum that includes solid incentives to get him to around $2M. He was due to make $2.95M in New Orleans.

    • Big Mike

      Ditto but we got Rashad Penny so it’s all good.

  9. Robbie

    According to Field Yates, the Seahawks did in fact restructure Quandre Diggs contract. Interesting, free’d up more cap space.

    • Robbie

      The Seahawks converted Quandre Diggs’ $100K in per game roster bonuses into salary and accelerated $5.05M of his salary into a signing bonus while adding a void year, per source. After holding in for much of camp, Diggs receives extra injury protection, Seattle gets cap space.— Field Yates (@FieldYates) September 9, 2021

      • Ashish

        Means nothing if they don’t use it. Are they getting too cute to wait out for 1st week before they sign Atkins? Or may be give more bargain power to free agents after not so good performance.

  10. cha

    Dallas blitzed their safety and left their talented pass rusher to cover Gronkowski one on one.

    So help me, if KNJ and PC weren’t watching last night…

    • Ashish

      Brady to Gronk, was easy picking

    • James Cr.

      You didnt like seeing Alton Robinson covering a WR downfield?

    • Big Mike

      They probably got the idea from Seattle when we dropped Clowney into coverage on that critical 3rd down in the playoff game year before last. Norton is an innovator dontcha know.

  11. cha

    Joel A. Erickson
    Eric Fisher, Xavier Rhodes and Kemoko Turay will not play against Seattle

    Joel A. Erickson
    Carson Wentz will officially start on Sunday

  12. Palatypus

    From the article:

    “On a couple of occasions I saw a linebacker actively turn away from contact to protect himself as Penning was approaching. I’ve not seen that before.”

    I’ve seen linebackers make a “business decision” a few times with Walter Jones.

    • Big Mike

      Patrick Kerney literally quit and refused to enter a game in the middle of the 3rd quarter when playing for the Falcons and was going up against Big Walt. Genius Ruskell signed him a year and a half later to a FA contract. Similar to Pete trading for TE from New Orleans that your defensive players called a pussy.

      • Kyle

        Great point Big Mike. That always got me about the Jimmy Graham trade. At the time we still had the identity of a smash mouth bully team on offense. We needed another Zach Miller type TE not a finesse TE that we stupidly try to force into becoming a blocking TE. I think that move started us not becoming a bully on offense anymore along with the retirement of Marshawn.

      • Palatypus

        I seem to remember someone being a scratch before facing Big Walt with the diagnosis on the injury report being “arachnophobia.”

  13. Kyle

    I was watching for fun a couple replay games from the 2013 season and it got me to thinking. A lot of Seahawks fans always talk about who they’d take from that defense and put on the present day defense but I was thinking who I’d take off that offense and put on the present day. Outside of the obvious one in Marshawn I think my number 2 and 3 respectively would be Max Unger and Zach Miller. Would love to see Unger at center helping anchor this line with the guards we have now next to him.

  14. Sea Mode


    Brady Henderson

    The Seahawks’ final injury report lists … no one. We’ll get an update on who did what today once practice ends, but no Seattle players being listed as out, doubtful or questionable means everyone is considered healthy enough to play in Sunday’s opener at Indianapolis.

    • Sea Mode


      Bob Condotta

      Seahawks held out offensive linemen Duane Brown and Gabe Jackson today as resting vets while WR DK Metcalf was limited with a calf. Everyone else a full participation. Seahawks final injury report reiterates no one listed as out, doubtful or questionable.

  15. Justaguy

    And we just polished off the practice squad with Deshon Williams, completing the best off season this front office could ever have been expected to accomplish. Now all we need to do is get our “factcinated” fans back in the seats and enjoy another season of dreadful debate about who is the reason for perpetual dullness.

  16. Big Mike

    In my opinion, “best” would’ve included more depth at DT (still possible), an upgrade at C and re-signing KJ. Upgrade at CB would be nice too but not sure what else was available. I’m still hopeful Tre Brown can be an upgrade eventually.

    • Big Mike

      Hope for Sidney Jones too. Upgrades based on hope don’t usually work out but that’s what we’ve got at the position.

      • Call Me AL

        Lets hope Carson isn’t up to the task after five practices and coming back early after injury. If he has a big day it’s going to be a very long season….

        • Submanjoe

          I know what you mean…
          But I am hoping Carson has a career day on the way to his best season ever.

  17. Denver Hawker

    Eagles OT Mailata get 4yr extension, $64MM with $40Mm guaranteed. Played one season and PFF graded him 70.

    He might be really good, but this still seems nuts and the Hawks are screwed trying to pay tackles if this keeps up.

    • Big Mike

      Call me foolish if you want, but is there a chance we maybe should’ve kept our draft picks and drafted a future tackle or 2 in early rounds ahead of when we need them?

      • Denver Hawker

        Why use early picks when you could use a 6th.

    • Mick

      They better try to give Curhan some playing time this year.

    • J.P.

      I wasn’t looking to extend Shell either way. Just like I wasn’t looking to pay Ifedi or Fant 9m/year or whatever was talked about before those two hit the open market.

      Brown will more than likely be back unless his health just deteriorates this year. Best just find a budget option like they did with Shell at RT.

  18. Blitzy the Clown

    Don’t want to jinx anything, but the Ducks are taking it to the Buckeyes. Stout, stout defense from Oregon so far (2 mins left in the first half).

  19. AlaskaHawk

    Is Oregon for real or is Ohio State rusty?? I like the way Oregon is playing. Either way this could be a rare PAC 10 win. Fingers crossed.

  20. Paul Cook

    As much as I despise Oregon being a Husky fan and all, this is one of those very rare times where I’m pulling for them to win. Reasons being…

    1) I’m getting a little tired of the OSU/Clemson/Alabama domination thing
    2) Pac 12 really needs a few big, national, out of conference wins
    3) OSU stole two of our highest in-state recruits in years from us this past recruiting cycle
    4) We play Oregon at home this year, and if we can upset them (doubtful), it makes the win look better

  21. cha

    I guess this is Salk’s preseason too.

    No mention of hiring Shane Waldron?

    Or extending Tyler Lockett?

    Or drafting Dee Eskridge?

    Or signing Chris Carson to a fantastic deal?


    Giving Jamal Adams $70m is the best move of the offseason.

    Why? Because he’s a top player? Because he’s a superstar on a HOF track? No. It’s because ‘they handled it without it really getting ugly in the press.’

    If that is your criteria, why aren’t you hammering the Seahawks for allowing the RW drama that ‘really got ugly in the press’ to drag on for 2 whole months?

    I think at this point I’d rather Salk ask players who the funniest Seahawk is, or what their favorite Netflix show is.

    • Paul Cook

      It was a very predictable/chalky ranking to me, almost John Claytonesque. It’s like it was written by the Seahawks front office. Not very Salky in that way…

  22. cha

    Seahawks Activate LB Jon Rhattigan From Practice Squad for the game tomorrow

  23. Olyhawksfan

    Seeing TJ Watt get his made me go back and review the 2017 NFL draft class. Some serious talent that year, but for the Hawks probably their worst draft under PCJS. I would trade in all their picks that year for Watt. Just go look at some of the names they didn’t take, and then look at who they did take. Gross.

    • Poli

      I remember I wanted Watt or McDowell, but people were calling me a noob because Watt would only be a SAM here.

  24. Paul Cook

    Somewhere along the line the last few drafts, we should have taken a OT closer to the top of our boards. I think that was a mistake.

    • Paul Cook

      I don’t know what happened. This was meant to be in response to a Big Mike post higher up.

      • Big Mike

        Agree with you 100% Paul.

    • 12thchuck

      they dont have a good trck record with o lineman picks

  25. Blitzy the Clown

    #23 Oregon sophomore safety Verone McKinley (5’11” 194lbs) is the mvp of this tremendous win over THE OSU. That kid has been everywhere on defense for the Ducks today and clinched the game with his INT.

    • Paul Cook

      Add CJ Verdell to the list. 20 carries 161 yrads, 3 catches 34 yards, 2 TD’s.

      That was an impressive Oregon win, as painful as it is for me to say.

      • Big Mike

        Doubly impressive considering Thibodeaux watched the game from the sideline.

    • DriveByPoster

      The Buckeyes DLine was so completely over-matched by the Ducks OLine, it was ridiculous. Anthony Brown spent the game sitting in the cleanest pocket I think I’ve ever seen!

  26. cha

    Chris Mortensen
    Not only is
    QB Carson Wentz ready but OG Quenton Nelson also now good to go for Sunday’s game vs.
    Wentz no setbacks with foot this week. Nelson was questionable, more for back issues than foot, but he was good Friday, no issues today and cleared to start.

  27. Paul Cook

    I want PC to have as little as possible to do with the offense this year. If it was possible, I wouldn’t even want him calling the TO’s, or deciding when to go for it or not on 4th down. Just butt out. I’ve seen enough.

    The fate of this team is absolutely dependent upon a more consistent, efficient and innovative offense this year. It happens under RW and Waldron or it doesn’t. We’ll find out soon enough.

  28. Rob Staton

    Apologies all, no college football notes today.

    I called a soccer game this weekend which included a 12 hour drive. I’ve just got home and not seen anything. Will catch up over the next few days.

    • Ashish

      You are living kings life. Soccer, Football and i know you watch cricket too. Plus you have such a good knowledge. Just amazing

    • cha

      Sounds like a 10am game tomorrow is just what the doctor ordered.

      Relax and have a beer Rob.

      • Rob Staton

        Sounds like a plan

        • TomLPDX

          Today has been an amazing game of college football. Sit back and relax to watch the highlights. Oregon killed it, Texas A&M escaped by the skin of their teeth and Arkansas is giving it to Texas (at the moment).

  29. KD

    Huskies are utterly worthless…….

    • 206

      How bout them Cowboys

  30. Aaron

    What has happened to my Washington Huskies?!?!

    Get ur butt outta town Jimmy Lake

    • Paul Cook

      I don’t ever want to be a twitter-rage-blame-alarmist-aholic, but everything’s on the table as far as the Husky football program goes now. Everything. AD. HC. OC. Any of the coaching staff. Maybe not right away, except maybe the OC, but certainly getting your ducks in a row for season’s end.

      The football program butters the bread of the rest of the athletic programs. Big alumni donor money flows in mostly because of football. Alarm bells are going off now. It’s not good. This ship has to undergo a course correction soon enough. It’s clear to everyone now.

      • Rob Staton

        UW is an absolute shambles

      • McZ

        Seriously, last season, Jen Cohen was cutting millions worth of coaching staff, to cut down on the Covid-deficit. All was predicted on a shortened season that failed to materialize. Still, all 22 programs were retained.

        In the same timespan, Stanford cut 11 programs.
        Oregon escaped deep cuts by an expanded furlough scheme.
        The SEC had no cuts to make, because the Covid-measures were practically non existent.

        So, what do we really expect?

  31. Palatypus

    Michigan’s defense is visibly faster.

  32. Kendo

    I am late to commenting on this post and it might have already been said. Rob wondered if the guy had any martial arts training. I haven’t looked up this guy but I do know Iowa has been considered quite the bastion for wrestling in this country. Maybe this guy got enough when he was younger and it has stuck.

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