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Training Camp Profile: DL Mike Pennel

KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 25: A New York Jets helmet is held behind a player's back during the national anthem before NFL action against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium before the game on September 25, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 25: A New York Jets helmet is held behind a player's back during the national anthem before NFL action against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium before the game on September 25, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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Defensive lineman Mike Pennel has his work cut out for him heading into training camp with the New York Jets. Here’s his complete profile as he competes for a final roster spot.

General manager Mike Maccagnan and the New York Jets went out last season and gambled on Mike Pennel. Pennel was taken off of waivers by the Jets from the Green Bay Packers where he spent three seasons. Let’s take a look at his training camp profile.

2016 SEASON REVIEW

Pennel played his college ball playing for several teams. He started his playing career at Scottsdale Community College before transferring to Arizona State University. At Arizona State, he ran into trouble and was suspended from football indefinitely for some comments he made on his Twitter account. Not being one to quit on his dream of playing in the NFL, Pennel finished his collegiate career at Colorado State-Pueblo.

As a result of his collegiate troubles, Pennel went undrafted after the 2014 NFL Draft. He was later signed by the Green Packers and made their 53 man roster in his rookie season. Pennel was used as a rotational player in Green Bay’s defense for the most part, but in 2015 he was called on to start five games.

Pennel was considered a rising talent in Green Bay’s defense until he once again fell out of favor due to off-field issues. He opened the 2016 season serving a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s controlled substance policy, and unfortunately for him, ended the season serving another four-game suspension for another violation. Green Bay had seen enough and released him in January.

2017 SEASON OUTLOOK

Pennel signed a one-year deal with the Jets in March in hopes he can compete for their nose tackle position. It was a gamble by the Jets, but one with limited risk and a high reward if he can turn things around. Pennel is a big man, he measures in at 6’4″ and his 332-pound frame makes for a difficult obstacle to move for opposing centers.

Steve McLendon has been solid for the team since his arrival last season from the Pittsburgh Steelers. The problem is McLendon is already thirty years old and no longer offers much of a pass rush for the Jets. The Jets are looking for someone to push McLendon this year in training camp, and the hope is Pennel might become that guy.

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TRAINING CAMP PREDICTION

Pennel has a lot to prove this summer. Only signed to a one-year deal, it could be a make or break year for the 26-year-old.

Through his three years with Green Bay, Pennel appeared in 37 games, producing 40 tackles, a sack and a forced fumble as a rotational player. Not bad for a part-time contributor.

Of course, there are no guarantees while trying to make an NFL roster, and Pennel will need to win a spot this summer. The Jets have a rising talent in Deon Simon who will also be competing at the position. The competition promises to be highly competitive with all three of the contestants competing to gain the coaching staff’s stamp of approval.

Whether Pennel can make this roster is open for debate. He will need to prove himself on and off the field this summer. The first signs of trouble off the field will likely spell the end of his Jets tenure. On the field, he’ll need to stand out and bring pressure from the middle of the Jets defensive line. The odds of him making this team, are likely 50/50. The team has a need, now it’s Pennel’s opportunity to prove he belongs.

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