The Detroit Lions managed to pull together a solid draft class that is drawing rave reviews so far in the court of public opinion, and perhaps the biggest reason why was the team’s ability to land a stud lineman in Penei Sewell.
Sewell was seen as a top player in the draft, and it’s amazing to think the tackle slid down the board out of the top five into the waiting arms of Detroit, who snapped him up with the seventh pick in the draft. That move proved to be one of the steals of the entire weekend thanks to what it will do for the Detroit offense as a whole in 2021 and beyond.
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Bleacher Report and writer Alex Ballentine took a closer look at some of the goings on over the weekend, picking out some steals and surprises of the NFL Draft. As he said, the Lions’ move to add Sewell fell into the category of steal thanks to who he was able to slip past.
“His movement skills, size and production stood out in such a way that his opting out of the 2020 season didn’t seem to hurt his draft stock.
Protecting the quarterback is incredibly important, so it didn’t seem likely Sewell would be available to the Detroit Lions at No. 7. The first three picks were always going to be quarterbacks, and the Atlanta Falcons didn’t need a tackle, but both the Cincinnati Bengals and Miami Dolphins had young passers who could use improved protection.
Instead, those franchises opted for receiving weapons. The Bengals reunited Joe Burrow with his college teammate Ja’Marr Chase, while the Dolphins did the same for Tua Tagovailoa with Jaylen Waddle.
The Bengals’ and Dolphins’ controversial decisions opened the door for the Lions, who drastically improved their offensive line. With Taylor Decker already manning the left side, Detroit will have the luxury of two high-caliber tackles, guaranteeing a certain level of protection for Jared Goff, whose success with the Los Angeles Rams was tied to the quality of the offensive line.”
Seeing both Cincinnati and Miami pass on selecting Sewell was likely a too good to be true moment for Detroit general manager Brad Holmes, who was clearly jacked to be able to have a chance at Sewell. In the end, he might become one of the biggest steals the team has seen early in the draft.
Protecting Jared Goff would seem to be a very smart move for the Lions in the end, who could get a sneaky good season from Goff if he is protected well in the pocket.
Sewell’s Fit Strong in Detroit
Perhaps another reason for Sewell becoming a steal of a pick in the end? The way he has wasted no time embracing the city of Detroit. In his post-draft press conference over the weekend, Sewell seemed that he was genuinely overjoyed to be donning Lions colors, and even gave the city of Detroit a shoutout at the end of the presser.
Lions first round pick Penei Sewell closed his introductory press conference flexing: “Yes sir! We in the D!” pic.twitter.com/4FTR8V0mut
— Brad Galli (@BradGalli) May 1, 2021
It’s refreshing to see young players come in and embrace their opportunity. To that end, Sewell seems like he has the right mindset right off the bat to make his situation work in Detroit.
Sewell’s Stats and Highlights
The tackle from Oregon is a mountain of a man and someone who isn’t easily moved up front. Sewell excels as not only a pass blocker but a run blocker, and is as close to complete of an offensive lineman as there has been in the draft lately. While playing for the Ducks, Sewell became the 2019 Outland Trophy winner as the nation’s best offensive lineman and also was a Unanimous All-American and first-team All-PAC 12 player. Though he sat out 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it did little to dampen his stock as a top pick this April.
Sewell’s tape shows a player who can protect as well as move people up front, a deadly combination for the NFL.
With tape like that, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that Sewell could be one of the best young lineman to hit the league in decades, and it’s hard to imagine how even three or four teams passed on him early on. Their loss is Goff’s gain in the end.
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