2021 NFL Draft Player Preview: Penei Sewell

  • Penei Sewell, 6-6/325

  • Offensive Tackle

  • Oregon

  • Penei Sewell 2020 Preview
    By Charlie Campbell

    Career Recap: Oregon has featured a loaded offensive line in recent years, producing a number of future NFL draft picks, but Sewell has been the best of the bunch. He broke into the starting lineup as a freshman in 2018 and then took his play to another level as a sophomore when he won the Outland Trophy. Sewell had a dominant sophomore season as the blind-side protector for Justin Herbert, and Sewell created a serious buzz as a 2021 NFL Draft top prospect.

    2020 Season Outlook: Sewell is going to see some quality edge rushers during his junior year. In Week 2, he will face a tough test with Ohio State, which fields a few young edge rushers who could become top prospects before long. In early October, Sewell will see a potential first-round edge rusher with Washington's Joe Tryon. Stanford and USC could have early-round talents on their defensive lines that challenge Sewell as well.

    Skill-Set Summary: In the passing-driven NFL, edge protection is critical to keeping teams' franchise quarterbacks healthy and effective. That demand was evident with four offensive tackles taken as top-13 picks of the 2020 NFL Draft, and Sewell could end up being a prospect on a par or better than some of the four tackles who were high first-rounders this past April. There is a lot to like about Sewell for the NFL, as he is an excellent quarterback protector who is a steady contributor in the ground game.

    Sewell has the skill set to be a dependable edge protector for the passing game. He is a good athlete with real quickness on the edge. Sewell pops out of his stance, gets his hands into the chest of defenders, and has quick feet to play the typewriter and cut off the edge from speed rushers. He has enough strength and quality hands to sustain blocks while being able to neutralize second efforts. His agility, footwork and quickness make him a smooth mover in space. On screens, kick-out blocks, and zone runs, Sewell constantly shows that he is natural in space.

    Sewell is not an overpowering run blocker who bulls defenders off the ball, but he scraps with attitude and is effective. Sewell uses his size and strength to manipulate and turn defenders to tie them up and keep them from getting in on tackles. Sewell can dangerously fire to the second level and will get nasty overwhelming linebackers or defensive backs with violence. It would help Sewell to continue to get stronger for battling NFL defensive linemen, but he could function in a power-man- or zone-locking scheme.

    It would help Sewell to show more power in the ground game as junior and continue to refine his technique in pass protection. Sometimes, he gets in trouble when his weight gets over his toes, so keeping his mass in a good place and maintaining good conditioning will help to prevent that.

    A lot can change entering any season, but after my first impression, I would put Sewell in the league of the two tackles who went in the top 10 of the 2020 NFL Draft, the Giants' Andrew Thomas and the Browns' Jedrick Wills. I think Sewell could end up being a better prospect than the Jets' Mekhi Becton and the Buccaneers' Tristan Wirfs. Sewell is not as good of a run blocker as Thomas or Wills, but he could be a better pass protector entering the next level. It will be interesting to see how Sewell develops in 2020.

    2021 NFL Draft Expectations: Entering the 2020 season, Sewell looks like a future first-round pick. He has the potential to become a high first-rounder.



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