2020 Statistics: 7 tackles, 7 defensive stops
Going back and watching film of defensive tackle John Penisini in college, you’d start to question why he was drafted so low. In some part, it could be due to the fact he’s a one dimensional player. On the other hand, out of that Utah defensive line, he stood out the most.
He’s tough to move and drew constant double teams, which freed up teammates in edge rusher Bradlee Anae and nose-tackle Leki Fotu. Out of the three so far, Penisini is the only one to win a starting job in the NFL. Despite being drafted the lowest out of the group.
Best trait: Run Defense
It’s a no-brainer, as mentioned he is a one dimensional player. His run defense is the driving factor towards his success at this point. In Detroit’s last three games they’ve allowed 228 yards on 77 carries against running backs. That would rank 3rd best in the NFL.
In those three games, Penisini has seen a large amount of the snap count. He currently ranks 3rd in run defense against all rookie defensive lineman.
Area of Improvement: Pass Rushing
My NFL comparison for John Penisini was ironically defensive tackle and running mate Danny Shelton. Both players aren’t premier pass rushers on the interior. However, after watching him some more, I’d change that comparison.
Penisini has a much better build than Shelton, he also looks more fit. So, I wouldn’t say it’s entirely impossible for Penisini to develop into a high level pass rusher in the future.