The Detroit Lions made the move to grab Penei Sewell in the NFL Draft, and while the move was getting the proper amount of credit from plenty in the media, it’s still not that sexy compared to what else the team could have done.
Still, that’s not a problem as it relates to some in the media, particularly ESPN analyst Dan Orlovsky. Orlovsky has been pleading for weeks for the Lions to make a smart move and grab and offensive lineman, and it just so happens they grabbed the best one in the draft and a potential generational talent.
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Speaking after the pick was revealed, Orlovsky couldn’t hide his excitement about what his former team did.
— Dan Orlovsky (@danorlovsky7) April 30, 2021
“Win with bigs, build with bigs, BWB. Don’t fall in love with the sexy. I think the Lions now, because Penei Sewell, will have a top-five offensive line in the NFL. I think they’ll have a top-five offensive line in the NFL for the better part of a decade because of this selection. This is one of the first times in a long time that I feel like they are doing the right thing. Now they got a chance to build an organization.”
Not only did Orlovsky love the move, but most of the internet did as well. It’s safe to say the team has the makings of a very solid group for the future adding Sewell and the line is no longer something for the team to fret about moving forward.
Orlovsky Pushed Lions to Build Trenches
Pre-draft, Orlovsky was on the train for an offensive lineman quickly. Orlovsky has had a front-row seat to some of the ups and downs of the organization in recent years, and he believes it’s time for the franchise to turn over a new leaf with regards to their decision making in the draft.
On a recent episode of NFL Live, Orlovsky made his pitch as to how the Lions need to approach the draft this year. As he said, it should be about drafting the best offensive lineman for the trenches.
— Dan Orlovsky (@danorlovsky7) April 26, 2021
“Someone tell me the organization in the NFL in its history that has built itself a consistent winner on skill position player in the draft early. It doesn’t happen. I’ve lived it with Detroit, I know the fans have lived it. I’ve been on the team where it’s like ‘let’s take another receiver early when we don’t have the pieces in place to allow that receiver to play.’ The Lions have to be disciplined. Brad Holmes, Dan Campbell, don’t do what your predecessors have made the mistake of doing saying ‘we need a guy for our quarterback to throw to.’ No you don’t. You’re not a good football team. Build from the line of scrimmage. You as an organization, I’ve watched you make mistake after mistake after mistake taking pass catchers. Do not get caught up in the shiny, sexy object. Do this the right way in Detroit for the first time in 30 years. Take a big.”
For years in the 2000s, the Lions did approach the draft like a skill position binge, but Orlovsky might not be right to say that the Lions haven’t focused on the trenches enough lately. Since 2010 the team has selected four offensive linemen in the first round and three defensive lineman. They haven’t totally ignored the trenches as much as they may have selected some of the wrong players. This year, it’s more about getting it right for a new regime no matter who the team picks.
Even such, Orlovsky wanted to see an offensive lineman join the fold before a skill position does long before some of the experts.
Why Offensive Line Was Smart Pick for Lions
As Orlovsky says, it makes more sense that the Lions could target another lineman for their rebuild. Even though the Lions have Taylor Decker, Jonah Jackson and Frank Ragnow in the fold as well as quality young depth pieces like Tyrell Crosby, the team could need one more elite piece to perhaps cement their transformation toward one of the best groups in the NFL. While wideout and defense are big needs for the Lions, the team now has the makings of an elite group with Sewell in the fold.
Now, it’s more than possible that the Lions have one of the best lines in the NFL as a result of this move. That’s something analysts like Orlovsky see.
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