Just when you think you know everything, you find out you don’t.
A surprising name has suddenly entered the top-10 conversation for the New York Jets in the upcoming 2022 NFL draft that not a lot of people saw coming.
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On Wednesday, April 6 I sat down for an exclusive interview with NFL Insider Tony Pauline from the Pro Football Network.
We addressed several interesting buzzworthy topics, although none more fascinating than a mini-bombshell Pauline dropped in the middle of our conversation.
“I do know they like Trevor Penning, the offensive lineman out of Northern Iowa.”
He later doubled down on that when I asked for his first-round mock draft predictions right now in early April:
“It is still early April but for me, it is going to be either Ahmad Gardner or Jermaine Johnson. I feel right now it is going to be one of those two guys with the No. 4 overall pick. At 10, it is going to be Penning or Garrett Wilson, either the offensive lineman or the receiver.”
According to the NFL Mock Draft Database which is a consensus collection of each prospect’s overall ranking using over 60 big boards and nearly 400 first-round mock drafts it revealed that Penning’s stock is at No. 21 overall.
That fun fact certainly adds to the surprise factor that the Jets would consider taking him with the No. 10 overall pick.
Although it is worth noting that there has been a ton of connective tissue between Penning and Gang Green this offseason.
The Jets got an up-close and personal look at him down in Mobile for the Senior Bowl where they coached him.
Jim Nagy, the executive director of the Senior Bowl, said Penning “checked off that last box” by competing against some of the best football players at the college all-star event:
One more nugget down from the Senior Bowl was Connor Hughes of The Athletic who said Penning would be a “perfect fit” for the green and white with his “versatility and nastiness.”
Going a Step Further
Pauline went a step further revealing from his sources that the Jets plan on using a “premium asset” on the offensive line.
“Some of the coaches have told a few of the players that the Jets intend to take an offensive tackle early.”
Now, what does that mean exactly?
Will it be at No. 4? No. 10? At the top of the second round?
Pauline told me that he doesn’t “have his thumb on the pulse of that yet” but it “seems to me with all the information I have that they’re going to take an offensive tackle early.”
I then asked the question on everyone’s minds, if the Jets do take an offensive tackle early in this class, what does that mean for Mekhi Becton and/or George Fant? Does one of them get traded? Do they all come into camp together and compete?
Pauline said that it is a completely realistic scenario that all three of those players (Fant, Becton, and insert rookie) could all enter training camp together for a huge competition.
He said that it wouldn’t be a foregone conclusion that Becton/Fant will automatically be traded if the Jets select an offensive lineman high. That possibility is of course out there, but it isn’t a guarantee that it happens.