The New Orleans Saints will be without first-round pick Trevor Penning for at least a month. The team placed the rookie offensive tackle on injured reserve Thursday after tearing a ligament in his foot against the Chargers in the Saints' preseason finale. Penning played in 10 snaps on Sunday before suffering the injury. He appeared in the team's medical tent before receiving a cart ride into the locker room.
Penning is eligible to return for the Saints' Week 5 home game against the Seahawks, but the injury is expected to sideline him for a longer period of time. New Orleans is also dealing with an injury to James Hurst, who was the team's projected starting left tackle. Hurts injured his foot during training camp, but Saints head coach Dennis Allen says he expects the 30-year-old veteran to be back "sooner rather than later."
The Saints do not have another left tackle currently on the active roster sans Penning and Hurts. Landon Young and Lewis Kidd are currently behind starter Ryan Ramczyk on the depth chart at right tackle. Nate Solder and Eric Fisher are among the most notable free agents at left tackle should New Orleans explore outside options heading into their Week 1 matchup against the Falcons.
The 19th overall pick in April's draft, Penning was the only offensive lineman tabbed as a finalist for the 2021 Walter Payton Award, given annually to college football's offensive player of the year. Known for his fiery demeanor, Penning was excused from a practice early last month after getting into an altercation with a defensive teammate.