Brandon Parker

Raiders To Place Donald Penn On IR

Donald Penn suffered a groin injury in the Raiders’ overtime win over the Browns and will head to IR as a result, Ian Rapoport and MJ Acosta of NFL.com report (on Twitter).

The team does not view this as a season-ending malady, Rapoport adds, and Jon Gruden confirmed as such. Penn would be able to return in eight weeks.

The Raiders are turning to another team’s practice squad to replace Penn on the roster. They’re signing tackle Ian Silberman off the Titans’ practice squad, Paul Gutierrez of ESPN.com reports. Silberman went to the past two Raiders training camps and started at right tackle during part of the preseason. He made the team out of camp but was waived before Week 1.

Second-round pick Brandon Parker will start at right tackle on Sunday, according to The Athletic’s Vic Tafur (on Twitter), giving Oakland two rookie tackle starters flanking three proven veterans inside. Parker’s played 57 snaps this season. Penn has logged 188 at his new position, but, at least in the view of Pro Football Focus, the transition from left to right tackle has not gone well. Penn’s graded as the league’s worst full-time tackle, per PFF.

Nevertheless, the Raiders hope he can be an IR-return candidate. Penn’s profile would suggest as much. This has been another interesting year for the veteran blocker. He was the subject of trade rumors coming into the season, and the 35-year-old tackle was moved off the left side — where Kolton Miller now resides — for the first time in his 11-year NFL career. This occurred despite Penn making the past two Pro Bowls.

This injury will represent the most time Penn has missed as an NFLer as well. Prior to last season, when he played 14 games, Penn had suited up for every game of his career.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raiders Sign Brandon Parker, Nick Nelson

The Raiders inked two of their draft picks on Monday afternoon. Third-round offensive tackle Brandon Parker and fourth-round cornerback Nick Nelson are now under contract, meaning that eight of their nine selections have been signed. As shown on PFR’s tracker, third-round defensive end Arden Key is the last unsigned rookie of the bunch. 

Parker, the No. 65 overall pick in last month’s draft, played four seasons at North Carolina AT&T and started all 48 of his games at left tackle. The reigning MEAC Offensive Lineman of the Year and FCS All-American First Team selection will compete for time behind starters Donald Penn and fellow rookie Kolton Miller at the tackle spots.

Nelson, the No. 110 overall pick, spent the first two years of his collegiate career at Hawaii before transferring to Wisconsin. With the Badgers, Nelson tallied 35 tackles and tied for third in the country with 21 passes defended. Nelson has 40 passes defensed in three NCAA seasons but, somehow, did not record an interception in that time. That may have been a red mark against him in the draft process, along with his torn meniscus in early April.

The good news is that Nelson is expected to be back to full health this summer, which should allow for him to compete for playing time behind starters Gareon Conley and Rashaan Melvin. Shareece Wright, Dexter McDonald, Leon Hall, and Daryl Worley are also among those in the CB mix.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bay Area Notes: Johnson, Hurst, Miller, DBs

It sounds like Jon Gruden and Derrick Johnson hit it off in a one-on-one meeting, which led to the Raiders signing the 14th-year linebacker earlier on Friday. Johnson’s deal is a one-year agreement, Terez Paylor of Yahoo.com reports, adding that it’s worth up to $3MM. Gruden looks to have been a Johnson fan for a while during his years as ESPN’s Monday Night Football analyst, and that intel may have played a key role in the 35-year-old off-ball ‘backer landing with Oakland.

I’m one of Gruden’s favorite players — he’s always had a soft spot for me,” Johnson said, via Paylor. “He’s always said that over the years. I’m not playing for a rebuilding-type year. I sensed an urgency from Coach Gruden that winning is important right now.”

The Chiefs’ all-time leading tackler, Johnson has not played in a 4-3 defense since the 2008 season. Prior to the Chiefs switching to the 3-4 look in 2009, Johnson worked as an outside linebacker with Kansas City during his first four seasons. The Raiders signed Tahir Whitehead as well. He, Bruce Irvin and Johnson could be the Raiders’ three linebacker starters, despite Johnson telling Paylor he’s not quite the same player he was since the second of his severe Achilles injuries shut him down late in the 2016 season.

Here’s the latest out of the Bay Area:

  • Gruden, though, did not rule out a NaVorro Bowman reunion (Twitter link via Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area). Bowman is nearly six years younger than Johnson but also carries injury baggage. However, Bowman graded as Oakland’s best linebacker by a wide margin last season. The Raiders have maintained they’re still interested in Bowman throughout the offseason, but they’ve now added four linebackers — with Emmanuel Lamur and Kyle Wilber coming to California as well — since Bowman became a free agent.
  • The Raiders began their rookie minicamp with Kolton Miller working at left tackle, where he’ll likely be Donald Penn‘s backup. Gruden confirmed the team’s first-round pick will start his career there, per NFL.com’s James Palmer (on Twitter), despite the team being in need of an immediate right tackle starter. Third-round pick Brandon Parker will work at that position.
  • Maurice Hurst Jr.‘s been cleared for workouts and participated in the first day of the Raiders’ minicamp. Gruden said (via Bair, on Twitter) the team doesn’t have any reservations about the Michigan product, whose heart issues played a major role in him sliding into the fifth round. Gruden believes the Raiders landed the top two interior pass rushers in the draft in Hurst and second-round pick P.J. Hall, per Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal (via Twitter).
  • The 49ers plan to move third-round pick Tarvarius Moore from cornerback to safety, Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee notes. The Southern Mississippi alum ran a 4.32-second 40-yard dash at his pro day, and his 6-foot-2 frame also makes John Lynch believe he could stick at corner. Interestingly, 5-9 safety D.J. Reed — an outside corner at Kansas State — will compete with K’Waun Williams for the slot job, per Barrows, but also practice at safety. San Francisco’s brass is clearly unafraid to shuttle its defensive backs around, having Jimmie Ward ready to potentially switch positions for the fourth straight offseason.
  • Would-be third-year DB Dexter McCoil broke a bone in his foot training independently, leading the 49ers to waive him with an NFI distinction, Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area tweets. A 16-game Charger participant in 2016 and having played eight games with the 49ers last season, McCoil is facing a four- to six-week recovery period, per Maiocco.

Raiders Acquire Ravens’ No. 65 Pick

The Raiders are moving to the top of the third round and will use multiple picks to make that jump, Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal tweets.

Oakland acquired the No. 65 choice from the Ravens and will send Nos. 75, 152 and 212 to Baltimore. The Raiders used the pick to draft another offensive lineman, North Carolina A&T’s Brandon Parker.

The 6-foot-7 Parker will follow the 6-9 Kolton Miller to the Bay Area as offensive line reinforcements. The Silver and Black are in need of right tackle help and have Donald Penn entering his age-35 season on the left edge. Each of Oakland’s three 2018 picks so far have come on the lines, with second-round defensive lineman P.J. Hall joining the blockers as the newest Raiders.