Any NFL fan paying attention to this year’s draft has heard of Penei Sewell.
It’s pretty hard not to.
At 6’6, 330 pounds, he’s more than a dominating force. He’s one of the best prospects at his position in a long time. Draft experts project that the former Oregon Duck has the potential to become a generational offensive lineman. For that reason alone, he’s a player that the Detroit Lions should keep their eye on.
With the Lions acquiring Jared Goff in the Matthew Stafford trade, they need to invest in resources to ensure Goff’s success in Detroit.
Now some Lions fans would like the team to draft former LSU Tiger Ja’Marr Chase. After all, he’s the best wideout in the draft. And that’s even after taking a year off. His performance during his Pro Day was jaw-dropping. However, there are a ton of great wideouts in the draft this year. The Lions could potentially snag one of those with ease in the later rounds. Two options that come to mind are Florida’s Kadarius Toney––a guy who Joel Klatt referred to as a “Madden type” player––or Terrace Marshall, another former LSU wideout.
Since those options will be potentially available to the Lions in the second round, passing on the opportunity to draft Sewell would be a huge mistake. With the first and second-round picks, they can surround Goff with two high-level talents that he can grow with over the next two years, which is the amount of time left on his Lions contract.
Sewell checks all of the boxes a team should want in an offensive tackle.
As mentioned above, Sewell is a big boy. Along with his intimidating size, though, he brings many intangibles that make him a perfect fit for Detroit. Sewell is incredibly athletic, for starters, which partly explains his explosiveness off the line of scrimmage. He has quick feet, excellent at mirroring speed rushers, and most importantly, he excels in quarterback protection. Additionally, Sewell has a mean streak. When it comes to putting linebackers or defenders in their place, he’s the kind of guy who will humble them with force.
If he falls to the Lions, they could pair him with Frank Ragnow, Taylor Decker, and Jonah Jackson could create one of the best offensive lines in the NFC for years to come. And if the Lions decide that Jared Goff is not their guy, the incoming quarterback would still benefit from a dominating frontline.
So it’s a win-win situation.
Here’s the flipside of that coin.
For as great as Penei Sewell can be, there is a downside to him. While he carries a mean streak, he’s is not consistently as physical as a team would hope. If drafted to the Lions, offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn will need to get that “dog” out of him. He sometimes struggles with overpowering defenders in run and pass blocking.
However, the key and operative word in the above statement is “sometimes”. And honestly, that’s about it when regarding the downside of drafting him.
Several draft experts, including writers from NFL.com, predict Penei Sewell will be a top-five pick. If he falls to the Lions at the No.7 pick, GM Brad Holmes has one job to do.
And that’s to make sure that a limousine is waiting outside the Sewell residence, escorting him to a private jet that will fly him to the Motor City.