Leading up to the draft, we will profile several players who have been linked to the Ravens. Today's subject is 6-foot-7, 322-pound Northern Iowa offensive lineman Trevor Penning.
Penning Can Play Guard If Baltimore Drafts Him
Penning played tackle in college and that's where he's most comfortable. However, Daniel Jeremiah of NFL Network thinks Baltimore should consider drafting Penning, even if All-Pro left tackle Ronnie Stanley is healthy next season and Morgan Moses takes over at right tackle. Jeremiah said Penning is versatile enough to start at left guard next season.
"He got some guard reps at the Senior Bowl and did just fine," Jeremiah said on “The Lounge” podcast. "I know a lot of times you say you don't want a real tall guard. This guy is big and powerful. He can play with a lot of leverage.
"I think Trevor Penning can slide in there and hold up. You wouldn't have to play him there long-term. I don't think Morgan Moses is the long-term solution. You've got to get Ronnie Stanley out there healthy. It's easy to say we think he's back to normal, he's 100 percent, he's going to be fine. But until you get him out there, you don't know. So that would be a heck of an insurance policy. And in the meantime I absolutely think he could plug in and play guard. There's nothing wrong with having offensive line depth, especially the way they play."
He Plays With a Nasty Edge
Penning helped his draft stock during Senior Bowl week, playing with a nasty edge that ticked off several opponents during one-on-one drills. Penning didn't seem to care. He came to make an impression, not to make friends. He wasn't heavily recruited out of high school and went to Northern Iowa with a chip on his shoulder, determined to prove he belonged with the top offensive lineman in the country. Now he's expected to be a top-20 pick, but that has not diminished his surliness.
"Teams that want that kind of nasty edge? It's a huge part of my game," Penning said at the NFL Scouting Combine. "You want to make the defender across from you feel it. You want him at the end of the day to be exhausted. He wants to get on that flight, get the hell out of there.
"Playing very nasty, I believe, is how O-line has to be played. You want to make that guy across from you hate to go against you. You want to see the fear in his eyes."
Penning Has Gained More Than 100 Pounds Since High School
Penning fits the mold of bigger offensive linemen the Ravens prefer. When Penning wasn't heavily recruited out of high school, he made a commitment to getting stronger. Penning and his brother, Jared, transformed the garage at their home into a gym during the pandemic, featuring 650 pounds of weights. The hard work paid off, and Penning became one of the strongest players in the country.
"I was like 210 as a (high school) junior," Penning said. "I've looked back at some pictures and wow, I was a twig. To think I'd be in this situation five years ago? Insane. It just shows how much work I've put in."
He's a Punishing Run Blocker and His Pass Blocking Has Improved
It's no surprise that Penning excels at run blocking, using his strength and size to overpower defenders at the point of attack. However, Penning's pass blocking has improved every year. He allowed just one sack and 11 pressures last season after allowing four sacks and 21 pressures in 2019. Facing NFL edge rushers will be a step up in competition for Penning, but he's light on his feet and an excellent athlete. His pass blocking figures to keep getting better, but he should be an excellent run-blocker from Day 1.
He Watches Horror Movies the Night Before Games
Binging on horror flicks the night before games helps Penning get in the right mindset.
The tradition started when Northern Iowa had a road trip on Halloween Night and Penning needed to kill time on a five-hour bus ride. He decided to flip on Netflix and stumbled across the movie "Saw", and Penning was hooked.
"I had never seen it before," Penning said. "It was pretty good."