While browsing national articles dealing with the first round winners and losers of the 2021 NFL Draft, Penei Sewell and the Detroit Lions are not mentioned.
Part of the oversight is likely, however, to be due to Sewell’s position: offensive tackle. The Lions used the former Oregon and Desert Hills High star’s 7th overall pick and received high marks in articles that rated each pick.
So how excited has the media across the country been about the Lions choosing Sewell?
Why O-line was the right choice for Detroit
There were still plenty of top players available on the board when Sewell was taken by Detroit. ESPN’s Eric Woodyard explains why the move made sense for the Lions. Part of it boils down to helping provide better protection for new franchise quarterback Jared Goff, who was traded to Detroit this offseason.
“Lions fans may be upset that Detroit didn’t attack a well-known talented player, but Sewell reinforces an already strong offensive line with his unique skills, including his speed and natural blocking instinct,” Woodyard wrote. Sewell allowed pressure on just 1.9% of pass blockers in 2019, while being called for a single penalty (a false start), according to ESPN Stats and Info. Former Oregon quarterback Justin herbert was pressured on 24.8% of drops in 2019, which was the Pac-12’s second low, and the Lions front office picked him to help him do the same for the new quarterback franchise Jared goff. “
Rating the Sewell pick
Almost every national department store that evaluated the first-round picks gave Sewell’s pick an A or higher, and they all agreed it was a solid pick.
- Danny Kelly, The Ringer (Rating: A +): “For a new front office and a coaching regime that preaches toughness and, as head coach Dan Campbell said, a knee-biting mentality, going into the offensive line with their first pick is just too much. meaningless. Sewell is my highest ranked tackle and should be a starter from day one. Whether he starts off on the right tackle or pulls longtime veteran Taylor Decker out of his blind spot, the Lions’ offensive line has improved a lot.
- Chad Reuter, NFL.com (Level: A +): “There was no doubt in my mind that the Lions would jump at the chance to draft Sewell. I consider him a future All-Pro who will make a new quarterback Jared goff feel much more at home in Detroit. Offensive linemen who weigh 330 pounds just aren’t supposed to move like Sewell. He doesn’t have more length for the post, but you don’t get around very easily with this guy. Lions can play Sewell anywhere. It had to be obvious to the team – and their palpable excitement visible in the draft hall after the selection showed they were thrilled.
- Lorenz Leinweber, Sports Illustrated (Rating: A +): Sewell opted out of the 2020 season after one of the most impressive left tackle campaigns ever for a 19-year-old. When looking at the inconsistent traits in the position, the Oregon prospect has them all: athletics, dominant strength and balance. With coaching from the NFL, he can become the number one protector of the blind for years to come. This is a better player choice available for Detroit, who couldn’t pass up Sewell’s talent. Expect him to be the starting left tackle from the start. His behavior is what the new Lions diet is looking for. “
- Brent Sobleski, Bleachers Report (Note: A): “A breathtaking tackle with unlimited advantage to play against Taylor Decker is the perfect pick. Sewell will immediately become a tone giver for the remainder of the offense. The Lions will build an identity with their attacking front in their backfield as the team still includes the worst wide receiving body in the league.
- Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News (Grade: A): “The Lions have pulled off a good bet to take the best player available for their total rebuild under the leadership of general manager Brad Holmes. Taylor Decker is still on the left tackle, but he’s getting older and Sewell can start and immediately improve on the right tackle with Halapoulivaati Vaitai moving to guard. It is flexible when it comes to pass protection and it is also a long lasting rock for the running game.
- Rob Rang, Fox Sports (Category: A): “The most physically dominant offensive lineman in the Pac-12 since perennial Dallas Cowboys Pro Bowler Tyron Smith occupied the left tackle at USC, Sewell is a point-of-attack mauler with a size, a rare strength and agility. With the investment made in new quarterback Jared Goff, the Lions had to protect themselves and they just added the best tackle in the draft. People, despite what some have argued, the gap between Sewell and other linemen in this class is significant. Sewell is one of the true blue chips in this class, and these are extremely rare on the offensive line.
- Pete Prisco, CBS Sports (Category: B +): “They probably thought he wouldn’t be here, so they had to be happy that he was. Sewell has a ton of talent and will improve this line considerably. “
Detroit Market Belief
The move was also applauded by most of the Motor City media, as it followed the franchise’s commitment to strengthening its offensive trenches.
“It’s the second-highest pick the Lions have invested in an offensive lineman in the modern draft age, and they have now spent four first-round picks on their offensive line in the past seven years,” a league high “. Kyle Meinke from mLive.com wrote.
“The initial investment is considerable and comes at the expense of getting help elsewhere for a decimated list. But Sewell’s meteoric rise from one of the farthest corners of the world of football helps explain why top decision makers in Detroit not only invested anyway, but literally went around in circles looking for someone. to hug in the war room when Sewell fell. to them after an early run on the quarters and catchers on Thursday night.
Justin Rogers from Detroit News Sewell said projects as the team’s starter at the right tackle on what should be a strong offensive line.
“Sewell joins a talented young offensive line made up of two other former first-rounders, Taylor Decker and Frank Ragnow. The rest of the top five should be Jonah Jackson, a third round pick a year ago, and Halapoulivaati Vaitai, ”Rogers wrote.
Like many others, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press believed the Lions fell short of their pick and went with the best talent available, avoiding taking a player to a different position where they needed it the most.
“I think they have one of the most talented players in the draft. He’s a guy with incredibly high potential at just 20 years old,” Birkett said, while adding that there will inevitably be a curve. apprenticeship for Sewell. Still, if you consider what Detroit has invested in its O-line, “You can see it’s been a force for the Lions for a very long time.”