NFL Draft 2022 tracker: live blog and pick-by-pick analysis
New Orleans Saints quarterback Jameis Winston likely sighed with relief upon seeing the results of the NFL Draft on Thursday night.
The Saints mostly played it safe in the first round, although they had to make more than one move to get what would end up being picks 11 and 19. A pre-draft trade with the Eagles earned them a second pick in the first round, and then they sent a third- and fourth-round pick, along with No. 16, to the commanders to come back up.
But at the end of the night, they met two Winston needs, selecting Northern Iowa offensive tackle Trevor Penning at No. 19 to accompany Ohio State wide Chris Olave at No. 11. Penning will immediately compete for a starting role on an offensive line that not only lost left tackle Terron Armstead but also faced a significant number of injuries last season.
• Draft notes: Sheil Kapadia weighs in on picks
• Best Big Board Available: Who’s Left of Dane Brugler’s Top 300?
“This guy is big, this guy is tough, this guy is mean, plays our type of football,” Saints coach Dennis Allen said. “We were delighted he was sitting there when we prepared to pick at No.19.”
The best aspect of playing football for @UNIFootball TO @TPenning58: “Legally assault the person in front of you.”@geoffschwartz and @BigDuke50 catch up on that projected top 20 in the “Big Boys Club” and discuss his journey from a small school to the NFL. pic.twitter.com/bCGUZ2hiAp
— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) April 26, 2022
Classification of the large painting: Penning was No. 16 on Dane Brugler’s Big Board and was last in the “top tier” of offensive tackles available in the first round. It didn’t seem certain that Penning would make it to the Saints’ initial pick at 16, so having him at 19 seemed like a pleasant surprise for the Saints. The only other tackle options left would have been Bernhard Raimann (36th on Brugler’s board) or Tyler Smith (50th on Brugler’s board). Other options available were Michigan S Dax Hill (#20), Utah LB Devin Lloyd (#9), Washington CB Trent McDuffie (#12) and Georgia DT Devonte Wyatt (#23).
Introduction (from Penning’s profile of Scott Dochterman): Wicked, tough and mean are just a few of the words that describe how Penning loves to play, a mentality he’s had since high school. He’s a self-confessed latecomer who was too short to get into college, but grew three inches taller and gained 80 pounds in Iowa. According to Brugler, his “fundamentals and discipline on the pitch need training, but he has an impressive mix of size, length, fluidity and power as well as the physical presence to dominate the man in front of him”.
— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) April 29, 2022
How it fits: Penning will likely enter the camp as a presumptive starter to replace the late Armstead. James Hurst was a solid substitute last season who actually started 15 games due to various injuries down the line. But the Saints aren’t considering Hurst as a permanent starter. Questions will be asked about whether they move right tackle Ryan Ramczyk to the left side, but so far the team hasn’t been inclined to do so, and Allen said Penning is specifically competing on the left side.
Penning will likely be put in the fast lane to start in place of Armstead, but if injuries or his development derail that then he’ll likely slip in as the No. 2 utility tackle behind Hurst until he is ready for a full-time shift. The Saints had no problem starting rookies: Erik McCoy took over as rookie center in 2019 and Cesar Ruiz started nine games at guard in 2020.
Second guess? It’s hard to argue with the picks of Penning or Olave based on how the roster drops, and Allen admitted the team are holding their breath a bit hoping Penning will still be there as their second pick approaches. . If need be, the only other choice that really would have made sense was Hill to plug the hole at safety, but only if Penning wasn’t on the board. Allen said the team was also considering a trade, but wanted to take Penning if he was still around.
Rookie Impact: The Saints don’t have many tackles on their roster at the moment, so he immediately adds depth to a position that has grown thin. He will also bring a physical and aggressive attitude to the room and has already drawn comparisons to Ramczyk.
Impact of the depth map: If Penning develops quickly, he’ll be the No. 1 left tackle on the depth chart coming out of camp, but if that development is hampered, he’ll likely be No. 2 behind Hurst or Ramczyk going into 2022.
Quick assessment: Penning felt like another pick that wasn’t a surprise at all, and that’s a good thing. Although time will tell what kind of players he and Olave turn out to be, both choices seemed perfectly logical for what the Saints need to compete this season. If all goes well, the Saints could have two impact starters right away. The Saints weren’t lucky enough to drop someone like Charles Cross in the top 10, but Penning felt like the right choice based on where the Saints are on the board.
(Photo: Kirby Lee/USA Today)