In-person up on the podium in Indianapolis at the NFL Scouting Combine, Northern Iowa tackle Trevor Penning just looks happy to be here. He laughs as he tells reporters a story of watching the entire Saw horror movie series with his mom. He talks about being grateful to go to any team at all, calling the prospect of being drafted, as high as the first round potentially, ‘cool.’ But don’t let appearances fool you. This is a guy that when asked to describe his playing style in three words came up with: physical, nasty, and prick. Yeah. His word, not mine. Penning’s preference would be to land on a team that prioritizes that ‘nasty’ streak that has become so coveted among offensive linemen in the league. “I think it's a huge, huge part of my game,” Penning said. “You want to make the defender across from you feel it. You want him at the end of the day to be exhausted, [wanting] to go home, get on that flight and get the hell out of there.” And as if he was trying to warn off any future opponents from right there on the podium, he continued. “You want to make that guy across from you hate to go against you,” he said. “Like you want to see the fear in his eyes. “You can't go out there and be Mr. Nice Guy. You got to let them know what's coming. I think that's just how football is meant to be played. It's made for big tough guys like myself.” Penning was a three-year starter at UNI at the left tackle position and while that’s where he’s most comfortable, he’s not opposed to trying his hand at guard should an NFL team see value in him there. But at 6-foot-7 and 330 pounds, he’s every bit the prototypical tackle size and prides himself on being the edge tasked with protecting his quarterback with a vicious fervor. Whistles don’t stop this bus of a human, he’ll plow right through them. And speaking of buses, he actually models his game after Titans left tackle and infamous Boy that Busses, Taylor Lewan, with whom Penning already has an established relationship. “Just the way he plays, the nasty demeanor,” Penning said of Lewan. “The athletic ability he has, he’s just an overall just great player.” Given what Lewan has meant to the Titans, if Penning could live up to that comp in even a fractional way, it’s hard to imagine a team that wouldn’t benefit from a player like him that could very well change the demeanor of an entire unit.
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