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Colts Select Northern Iowa OT Trevor Penning in Recent PFF NFL Mock Draft

The Colts could look to draft their franchise left tackle of the future in the 2022 NFL Draft—and a real ‘nasty’ one at that.

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL: FEB 02 Reese’s Senior Bowl Practice Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

According to PFF, the Indianapolis Colts will select Northern Iowa offensive tackle Trevor Penning with the 42nd overall pick in their most recent two-round 2022 NFL Mock Draft:

42. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (VIA WSH): T TREVOR PENNING, NORTHERN IOWA PANTHERS

Colts fans will like that Penning’s player comparison in the PFF Draft Guide is their former long-time starting left tackle, Anthony Castonzo.

The Northern Iowa product is a high-level athlete at 6-foot-7, 325 pounds and plays with a killer mindset — so much so that he might need to tone it down a bit.

While he did rack up 33 big-time blocks against lesser competition in 2021, he also drew 16 penalties. Pairing that playstyle right next to Quenton Nelson would be menacing.

The physically imposing 6’7”, 325 pound offensive tackle (with 34 1/4” arms) made 12 starts for the Panthers in 2021—earning First-Team All-MVFC honors. At his massive size, he ran a really impressive 4.89 forty at the NFL Combine, has a RAS of 9.96 out of a maximum 10.0, and was a member of ‘Bruce Feldman’s 2021 college football freaks list’:

69. Trevor Penning, Northern Iowa, offensive tackle

Last year, Northern Iowa had an offensive tackle who blossomed into a Freak, Spencer Brown, and it has another one on the other side of the line who is even stronger and nastier, though Penning isn’t as light-footed as the Buffalo Bills’ third-rounder. Penning, 6-7, 340 pounds, came from a small private school in north Iowa. He’s put on about 100 pounds since coming to Northern Iowa. Coaches have become used to watching film and seeing him drive D-linemen off the frame.

“We treat him like a mythical creature,” said UNI O-line coach Ryan Clanton. “He watches “Saw” on his phone before games…. We treat him like Bigfoot and we don’t look him in the eyes.”

Penning squats 625 and cleans 385 and has a size 17 shoe. He probably won’t run the 40 in the 4.8s like Brown did, but they expect him to be around 5.0, which is just as impressive considering he’s almost 20 pounds heavier.

He also participated in this year’s Senior Bowl, which is always something the Colts really like seeing in their pre-draft evaluation process. He was named the top offensive lineman on the National Team—on a vote from defensive line and linebacker practice groups.

The Colts were rumored to have interest in Penning’s former Northern Iowa teammate, Spencer Brown, before the Buffalo Bills snatched him up with the 93rd overall pick in last year’s NFL Draft, so it wouldn’t be surprising if Penning piques their interest in the pre-draft evaluation process as well—given that they’re both athletic big men that can move well in the trenches, as well as simply move bodies on the field.

At his sheer size, Penning is known for playing with a very nasty demeanor—and through the whistle, and would fit right in with his potential tag-team partner in crime, 4x NFL All-Pro Quenton Nelson, along the left side of the Colts’ starting offensive line. He blocks with great playing strength and shows good bend and athleticism for his large stature. However, his pass blocking technique could use some further refinement, and there may be a bit of a learning curve going up against NFL caliber speed edge rushers.

Here’s what they’re saying on Penning:

The Colts appear comfortable entering the season with recently re-signed offensive tackle Matt Pryor along the blindside, but general manager Chris Ballard did attempt to retain veteran free agent Eric Fisher (presumably to remain the starting left tackle) earlier this offseason, so the door may not be completely shut on another addition at the position.

Pryor appears competent enough to handle the job going forward, but his elevation does hinder the Colts’ offensive line depth—as he was their top swing-tackle last season (for a franchise that has otherwise recently struggled filling such a role), so drafting another talented offensive tackle at some point in this year’s NFL Draft simply makes sense.

Penning seems to fit a lot of what the Colts look for, as he’s a tone-setter, who plays tough and physical in the trenches and would assuredly help open up some running holes for All-Pro Jonathan Taylor and their power running game. It’s just a matter of whether they feel like his pass protection can further develop and improve—as there’s some work to be done.