2015 NFL DRAFT
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Donald Penn

Height: 6-4 | Weight: 317 | College: Utah State
 
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Overview

In starting 42 games during his Aggies career, Penn proved to be a model of consistency and durability. However his left knee medial collateral ligament was torn when a running back fell on his leg on the first play of the Hula Bowl. It began a long, grueling rehabilitation process after surgery that prevented Penn from working out for NFL teams prior to the 2006 draft.

Penn was a first-team All-CIF selection as a senior at St. Bernard High School, where he was more well-known for basketball, picking up All-State honors in that sport. On the football field, he was a first-team All-League choice and earned his team's lineman of the Year honor in 2000. As a junior, he was a second-team All-league pick.

Penn redshirted in 2001 at Utah State, but in 2002 he became only the second freshman since 1996 to start on USU's offensive line, lining up at right offensive tackle. He shifted to left tackle in 2003, starting every game. He again manned the left tackle position for the next two seasons. Penn earned All-Western Athletic Conference second-team honors, but had his string of 41 consecutive starts snapped when he came off the bench in the 2005 against Nevada.

Analysis

Positives: Has long arms, good bubble, adequate muscle tone and a frame that can carry at least another 15 pounds of bulk … Aggressive drive blocker who flashes good effort and desire to finish … Shows steady acceleration and nimble feet working into the second level … Has adequate balance and body control on the move, quickly setting to adjust to stunts and blitzes … Has the hand punch needed to generate movement off the ball … Does a good job of gaining position to wall off and finish … Demonstrates a strong base to anchor and has the natural knee bend and lateral agility to mirror and adjust to the edge rusher's moves … Pulls with good quickness and has the ability to reach his block point … Does a good job of neutralizing linebackers in the second level … Sets with good awareness in pass protection, demonstrating the kick slide and punch to defeat counter moves … Has the range and balance to turn the corner as a lead blocker for the ground game … Has the hip snap to redirect inside and works well with his guards on double teams.

Negatives: Has a good work ethic, but performs better when he is pushed by the coaching staff … Needs to add more bulk to his frame … Medical concern in regards to his left knee will see him drafted lower than his stock indicates, as he has been unable to work out for pro teams leading up to the draft … Struggles some in the classroom and is not the most instinctive blocker you will find, as he is sometimes late recognizing coverages … Has the strength to finish, but does not do it with consistency … Has a good hand punch, but poor placement, struggling to recoil and reset … Bit of a waist bender retreating in pass protection … Has good aggression, but will throttle down at times and take plays off … Lets the defender get into his frame too often and needs to do a better job of extending his arms to keep the opponent away from his body … Gets too high in his stance, narrowing his base and bending at the waist, causing strong bull rushers to walk him back into the pocket … Has good quickness, but fails to generate an explosive burst coming off the ball … Might be a better fit at right tackle or guard, where he would not have to be exposed playing out on an island.

Penn is a quick, aggressive blocker who needs to add more bulk and muscle tone to his frame. He has good lateral agility working down the line, but is a bit of a waist bender with poor hand placement and technique. He can jar a defender with his hand punch, but keeps his arms too short, allowing defenders to slip off his blocks.

Penn's quickness makes him effective on pulls and he does a good job of getting in front to lead block for the ground game. His feet and range make him effective getting into the second level and when he is in his zone, he flashes aggression and power to position and wall off. The problem is getting him to do it on a more consistent basis. He plays with good urgency when his head is in the game, but Penn is prone to concentration lapses and does throttle down for stretches during the game. The coaches say he has an improved work ethic, but also say you have to stay on him to get Penn to produce.

Penn has the quickness in his pass set to slide out and sustain the edge rushers. He does a good job of picking up stunts, but sometimes fails to recognize coverages and will get caught out of position. If he is to have success at the next level, Penn is going to have to do a better job of controlling and finishing off his man. His hands are too slow in attempts to make contact and even with his quickness, it is rare to see him explode off the line.

The knee injury suffered in the Hula Bowl set him back considerably and as of this writing, he has yet to work out for pro teams. This will cause him to be drafted lower than his stock indicates. He is worth a late round selection, but there are too many holes in his game right now to give the impression that he will develop into a starter.

Career Notes

Had the longest starting streak on the team (41) among active players snapped when he came off the bench in the 2005 Nevada game.

2005 Season

All-Western Athletic Conference second-team selection … Played in every game at left offensive tackle, starting ten times … Came off the bench in the Nevada clash … Posted 69 knockdowns with seven touchdown-resulting blocks and also recorded one solo tackle … Helped the offense average 317.0 yards per game, an improvement of close to 27 yards per game from the previous season … Also guided an offensive line that reduced their sacks allowed total to 29 in 2005 from 38 in 2004.

2005 Game Analysis

Utah … took down defensive tackle Steve Fifita as tailback Jimmy Bohm capped a 15-play, 82-yard second quarter drive by following Penn into the end zone for a 3-yard touchdown.

Nevada-Las Vegas … Posted eight knockdowns, leveling defensive end Leon Moore as QB Leon Jackson rolled out to find Kevin Robinson with a fourth quarter 15-yard touchdown pass that ended a 9-play, 63-yard drive as the team gained 222 aerial yards.

San Jose State … Flipped defensive tackle Anthony Flores out of the way to give Leon Jackson time to find Kevin Robinson with a 27-yard touchdown toss to conclude a 73-yard, 7-play drive as USU totaled 284 yards.

Fresno State … Drove defensive end Marlon Briscoe off the line of scrimmage to clear a rush lane used by tailback Chris Forbes for a 1-yard first quarter scoring run and the team finished with 202 yards.

Boise State … Raced to the middle of the backfield to stop defensive tackle Alex Guerrero from sacking Leon Jackson, letting the QB flip a 10-yard scoring strike to tight end Jason Stephens in the fourth quarter, as the Aggies gained 295 yards.

New Mexico State … Returned to the starting lineup after being benched the previous week and posted seven knockdowns, stopping linebacker Jimmy Cottrell dead in his tracks to open a hole used by tailback Ryan Bohm for a 1-yard scoring run in the first quarter, as USU compiled 395 yards.

2004 Season

Started every game at left offensive tackle … Generated 49 knockdowns with six touchdown-resulting blocks … The offense struggled most of the year, averaging only 290.3 yards per game after averaging 350.3 yards in 2003 … Part of an offensive line that allowed 38 quarterback sacks … Also recorded one solo tackle.

2004 Game Analysis

Idaho … Made four knockdowns and upended defensive end Brandon Kania on QB Travis Cox's 24-yard scoring strike to Kevin Robinson as the team gained 271 yards.

Nevada-Las Vegas … Led the way on a second quarter 5-yard touchdown run by Travis Cox and later leveled linebacker Adam Seward on a 79-yard scoring bomb from Cox to Tony Perryman with 4:16 left, as the team generated 291 yards.

Troy … Crashed into All-American sack artist DeMarcus Ware with a thud, giving Travis Cox time to find Raymond Hicks with a 42-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter, as the Aggies amassed 342 yards.

New Mexico State … Introduced defensive tackle Chase Spicer to the ground with a chop block on a 1-yard touchdown run by tailback Chris Forbes in the third quarter … On USU's next drive, Penn took down linebacker Richard Glover as Travis Cox rolled left to lob a 1-yard scoring pass to Jimmy Brohm and the offense piled up 402 yards.

2003 Season

Started every game at left offensive tackle, registering 45 knockdowns … Helped the team generate 4204 yards, an average of 350.3 yards per game … Also recorded a pair of tackles.

2002 Season

Started the team's final nine games at right offensive tackle … Part of a front wall that helped the offense average 392.5 yards per game … Became the second freshman to start on the offensive line at Utah State since 1996 (joined Brenen Burningham, who had started in 2001) … Was named one of three USU freshmen of the year along with John Chick and Matt Wiser.

2001 Season

Redshirted as a freshman.

Injury Report

2004: Suffered a left knee slight medial collateral ligament tear during March camp.

2006: Suffered a second degree medial collateral ligament tear in his left knee on the first play of the Hula Bowl when Utah tailback Quinton Ganther fell on Penn's leg. He underwent surgery and could not participate in agility tests at the Combine or during March Pro Day.

High School

Attended St. Bernard (Playa Del Rey, Cal.) High School, playing football for head coach Greg Dixon … First-team All-CIF selection as a senior, but was more well-known for basketball, picking up All-State honors in that sport … On the football field, he was a first-team All-League choice and earned his team's lineman of the Year honor in 2000 … As a junior, he was a second-team All-league pick.

Personal

Sociology major … Son of Nancy and Donald Penn … Born 4/27/83 in Los Angeles, California … Resides in Playa Del Rey, California.

 
 

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