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Scouts Critical of Oregon Tackle Penei Sewell Ahead of 2021 NFL Draft

"There is a floor with him that’s concerning.”

CINCINNATI — The Bengals are considering three players with the fifth overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. 

They could take Florida tight end Kyle Pitts, LSU wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase or Oregon tackle Penei Sewell. 

Atlanta may take Pitts with the fourth overall selection. It may not matter because the Bengals could have both Chase and Sewell higher on their board. 

Cincinnati is in desperate need of offensive line help. Adding Sewell would help their biggest weakness, but is he a better prospect than Chase? 

The LSU star would instantly improve the Bengals' downfield passing attack, which was awful last season. Chase would give Cincinnati a high-end trio of wide receivers.

Should the Bengals ignore the temptation and take Sewell? Some NFL scouts have their doubts about the 20-year-old lineman. 

“I believe there will be a lot of disappointment (at tackle),” an experienced NFL decision-maker told Bob McGinn of The Athletic. “I don’t buy that he’s a great one. Your options aren’t great this year. The upside with him is better than the upside with the rest. There is a floor with him that’s concerning.”

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Sewell and Chase both opted out of the 2021 college football season, but there seems to be more questions about the Oregon product.

“A bit overrated. He is a naturally thick, big-framed tackle. His workout was actually better than he played," an unnamed scout said. "I didn’t think he was super explosive. He covered people up with his size, and he would gouge somebody just because he was bigger than them. And name one pass rusher he actually played against in the Pac-12 who’s on a draft board?”

Sewell had a quality pro day and there's no denying that he had a lot of potential, but is he worth passing on an elite wide receiver prospect like Chase? 

“Every time I circle back and watch him (Sewell), I just don’t see it,” another scout said. “He’s not that gifted with his feet. He doesn’t really play that physical or strong. He can get in the way, but he’s not a really good finisher, and his balance isn’t that great. His technique is off. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done.”

The Bengals should take the highest player on their board when they're on the clock. It'll likely be Chase or Sewell.

It's worth noting that every word you hear from a scout should be taken with a grain of salt this time of year, but there appears to be plenty of NFL personnel concerned with the risk that comes with taking Sewell with a top selection. 

We'll get our answer after the 2021 NFL Draft begins on Thursday night at 8 p.m. ET.

Read McGinn's entire article here.

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