The Oakland Raiders are moving franchise cornerstone Donald Penn to the IR.
Since signing with Oakland as a free agent in 2014, Penn has been a team captain and critical part in Derek Carr’s emergence in the NFL.
Penn has been a vocal leader that has also performed at a top-tier level at left tackle for the Raiders. Unfortunately, since his injury in 2016 that caused him to miss a playoff game, his play and health have been on the decline. The largest assumption is that age deterioration is a factor as well as continually rehabbing from injuries has hurt the way his weight is displaced on his frame.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a more team focused player. Penn humbly accepted his new role at right tackle this season for the Raiders making way for rookie first-round pick Kolton Miller to become the future at left tackle. Penn has been visibly a different player during the positional switch. His footwork has been hobbled from his most recent injury and now his groin is likely the connected result of playing through it.
This makes way for another rookie draft pick in third-round selection Brandon Parker, a Gruden pick that was controversial in the media for being a reach.
Donald Penn (IR. torn groin) on rookie right tackle Brandon Parker: "I feel bad for him. I put him in a bad spot. The plan was to get him a year of seasoning, but he battled Sunday and played well. He really knows the system well." #Raiders
— Vic Tafur (@VicTafur) October 3, 2018
Could this be the end of the Penn era with the Silver and Black?
It seems Gruden’s draft plans with Miller and Parker at the tackle spots are starting to look strategically brilliant if they can develop quickly. Knowing the type of teammate Penn is, his presence in the film room and on the sidelines with Brandon Parker & Kolton Miller will be quite the veteran mentorship needed. There seemingly is a possibility for Penn to return from the IR, but this likely is the end of the Penn era in Oakland.