Trevor Penning already proving Carolina Panthers right

(Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports) Trevor Penning
(Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports) Trevor Penning /

Trevor Penning is already proving the Carolina Panthers were right to look in a different direction for offensive line help during the 2022 NFL Draft.

For a long time, it looked as if the Carolina Panthers were seriously considering the prospect of drafting Trevor Penning in 2022. The Northern Iowa product made a significant impression in college and during the evaluation process, with many analysts projecting him to Bank of America Stadium to fill the team’s desperate need for a long-term left tackle.

Whether this was at No. 6 overall or via trade down, reports stated that those in power within the Panthers were enamored by Penning’s athleticism and ruthless aggression. Something that often threatens to spill over on countless occasions.

As it turned out, the Panthers went with Ikem Ewkwonu after the top player on their board fell out of the top five and into their laps.

And based on Penning’s initial introduction to the NFL, they were right to look the other way.

The offensive lineman, who was drafted by the New Orleans Saints at No. 17 overall, was kicked out of practice after causing a fight for three consecutive days. The straw that broke the camel’s back was an encounter with defensive end Payton Turner that saw fists thrown before Penning was sent to the locker room.

This obviously drew the fury of head coach Dennis Allen, who is looking to make a significant opportunity count after he was chosen as the man to replace Sean Payton this offseason.

"“We don’t have time for that. I sent two guys in today and we’ve got to get our work done. We’ve got to learn as a team how to compete and how to play and how to practice and push ourselves to the limit but yet not take it over the edge.”"

The warning signs were there regarding Penning, who was taking things too far at the Senior Bowl during individual drills, throwing opposing defensive linemen around like rag dolls when there was really no need.

Trevor Penning’s poor discipline could benefit the Carolina Panthers

In all honesty, Penning should be focused on refining his suspect technique rather than over-aggressiveness. His hand placement remains a concern and could be the subject of penalty problems against legitimate NFL pass rushers that will punish almost every mistake.

This should be music to the Panthers’ ears.

Not only do they have a far superior talent in Ekwonu after standing pat at No. 6 overall. But they’ll also come up against Penning twice during his rookie season for good measure.

Simply put, players like Brian Burns should be relishing the opportunity to face Penning. Terron Armstead signed a bumper deal with the Miami Dolphins in free agency and unless the first-year-pro makes significant strides in the coming weeks, this is an area every team will be looking to exploit.

Just what the Panthers are going to do with Ekwonu is up for debate. The coaching staff is taking their time with the North Carolina State product and Brady Christensen’s production on the blindside has caught the eye throughout camp and given head coach Matt Rhule plenty to ponder.

Regardless of whether it’s Ekwonu or Christensen starting the campaign at left tackle, the Panthers can relax safe in the knowledge that Penning is not their problem.

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