Raiders left tackle Donald Penn has been the anchor on what has been one of the top offensive lines in the NFL over the past few seasons.
The 35-year-old has done a stellar job protecting Derek Carr's blindside and has been recognised with two Pro Bowl selections in 2016 and 2017.
The undrafted lineman won't be around forever though, so it wasn't a total shock when the Raiders pulled the trigger on UCLA tackle Kolton Miller with the 15th overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.
Penn is coming off a foot injury that required surgery, so having some insurance on the left side of the line was a necessary move for GM Reggie McKenzie and Jon Gruden to make.
The move did not go down well with Penn though.
So much so, that the three-time Pro Bowler picked up the phone ready to unleash his fury on Gruden and demand answers as to why the team had spent its first round pick on a player that was essentially his long term replacement.
The returning Raiders head coach didn't pick though, but speaking on the I Am Rapoport Stereo Podcast Penn shared the humorous response Gruden have him the following week when they saw each other.
“I’m not going to lie, as soon as I saw the draft pick, I called Gruden immediately. Like ‘man, what the f–k?’,” Penn told Rapaport. “He didn’t answer, but when I saw him the next Monday, he was joking with me saying, ‘You were ready to kick my ass, huh, Donald?! You were mad as a motherf–ker!’”
Oakland selected North Carolina A&T tackle Brandon Parker in the third round too, giving credibility to Gruden's claim that the picks were simply about adding depth and future starters to an already strong line.
“This is about the future of the Oakland Raiders, we have an outstanding young quarterback, we have a need at the position, and we’re very fortunate to address it, but it doesn’t really say anything to Donald Penn,” Gruden said after the first round of the draft.
Penn seems to have come to that realisation now too, and is even mentoring both Miller and Parker.
“I’m good now, he explained everything. One thing I like about him is he keeps it real.” Penn said.
“I’m going to try and get those young guys right and take them under my wing,” Penn continued... “So when I am done, I want to make sure this first round pick gets all my tips, everything I got in my back pocket. So when he does get in there, he can protect my guy DC (Derek Carr) like I do. Because at the end of the day, me and DC are always going to be friends.”
The 35-year-old is still rehabbing from his injury though, and it's actually been Miller who's been running with the first team in OTA's thus far.
That will likely only motivate Penn more though, and through it all Gruden will just be thoroughly enjoying seeing his guys with fire in their bellies wanting to come in and compete and get better every day.News Now - Sport News