The Las Vegas Raiders can’t afford to put off the right tackle position at this year’s NFL Draft, and there are some elite options out there.
The Las Vegas Raiders could go defense in the first round if they so desired, and most fans wouldn’t be upset. This is especially true considering the need within their defensive line’s interior, and they could always use another cornerback as well. Regardless, if you’ve paid attention to the Raiders’ offense this season, you know that it’s far from perfect.
Yes, the unit has found cohesiveness in the last few weeks, especially in opening up lanes for running back Josh Jacobs. Be that as it may, the priority should continue to be protecting franchise quarterback Derek Carr. This is where Penning comes in.
The six-foot-seven and 321-pound monster hails from Clear Lake, Iowa, and attended the University of Northern Iowa. He might not be a household name, but he’s quickly gaining buzz across mock drafts and big boards. Playing for a relatively small school has its downsides, and one of those is that you may fly under the radar in your college career.
Nevertheless, Penning was a finalist for the Walter Payton Award this past year and was invited to the Reese’s Senior Bowl. Big picture-wise, Penning’s unit allowed only 36 sacks last season and had several accolades bestowed upon him. Most notably, he was named to the 2021 Associated Press All-America Football team.
One thing that impresses out of the gate in his various film highlights is his movement. He’s light on his feet and his movement is fluid for his size, which, by the way, is perfect for his position. He’s a true mauler. You can clearly see him holding his own in pass protection. Even though the level of competition might concern some, he has the tools to be molded into a high-caliber starting NFL tackle, especially under the guidance of, say, Tom Cable.
His hips and lower body strength are noteworthy as he drives through defenders, opening up running lanes.