2021 NFL Draft Prospect Profile: OT Penei Sewell, Oregon

Sewell is the top-ranked tackle in this year's draft. While he's a longshot to fall to the Giants at No. 11, if he's there, it might be hard to pass him up.
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OT PENEI SEWELL 

Height: 6'5"
Weight: 325 lbs.
Class: Junior
School: Oregon


Sewell is one of the more discussed players who opted out of the 2020 season. He had great 2019 tape, and his upside is through the sky. He was a starter for Oregon as a true freshman. A former four-star recruit out of Saint George, Utah, and he’s of American Samoan descent. Sewell was the number one ranked Utah recruit in the 2018 cycle.

One the Outland Trophy in 2019 and was the first Polynesian and Oregon Duck to accomplish the honor. He also was awarded the Morris Trophy for the best offensive lineman in the Pac-1—he was unanimously named to all the college football outlets first teams; he became the third Oregon Duck ever to be unanimously voted an All-American.

He was the top-graded offensive lineman in the nation and the top-graded offensive lineman ever per Pro Football Focus. In 2018, he was a Freshman All-American who was also an honorable mention for the Pac-12.

Notables

He has a lot of NFL bloodlines, including uncles Isaac Sopoaga and Richard Brown, while also having brothers playing throughout college football. Sewell may have opted out, and some teams may have consternation about that decision, but he’s a very good football player who should be a high-end starter for a while.

Traits

Huge frame and a great athlete with exceptional lateral movement skills, quick feet, and a smooth nature make him unique. Excellent pulling ability into space or across the line of scrimmage and has quality burst, change of direction, and very impressive play strength throughout his body. He is a very quick mover with tons of upside as a tackle and an incredibly high floor as a guard (but he is a tackle in my book).

He does a good job firing off the ball and using violence to maul defenders in base situations while showing impressive lower leg drive on down blocks. Combines excellent foot speed and agility to excel with location on reach blocks outside as both a sealer and backside blocker.

He positions himself well to seal the edge, has fluid hips to help change direction, and the wide base to grab and turn. Re-sinks and uncoils his hips through his assignment delivering extra power.

He usually does a solid job staying square to his assignments and packs a mean punch with his heavy hands. He has very good upper body strength to bully and vice grip type strength through his hands.

He plays balanced in the run game and does a good overall job locating smaller defenders at the second level—he will drive defenders into the ground in an abusive nature. Also, he does a great job in combo chip and climb situations with very good power steps—shows very good hip mobility and locating skills at the second level.

Good footwork in pass protection and rarely has a missed step. He is smooth with his mirroring ability and does a good job handling pass-rushing counters. Used the snatch & trap technique several times against defenders who were stalemated or attempting to set up moves. Typically very balanced, but he didn’t always have to be perfect at Oregon with his technique, and his pad level did rise at times up the arc.

I love how he leverages his hands in pass protection; he has shown the ability to get his hands inside the breastplate, pulls defenders towards his body to limit space, and just removes them from the play. However, he also showed reps where he just sort of catches and doesn’t pop defenders in pass protection. 

I want to see him pop more because I know he’s more than capable (and yes, I’m nitpicking). Also, see him stop his feet prematurely and attempt to use his length to make contact when he doesn’t have to; it puts him into a disadvantageous situation when unnecessary even though it’s not super common on his tape, it should be acknowledged.

I don’t think he’s lethargic—he cares, and it shows on film. Every time he makes a mistake, or a big play happens, he reacts accordingly. But I still don’t see him consistently drive through contact on backside run plays at times. I don’t think it’s a referendum on his competitive toughness, but I also don’t think he was challenged much in the Pac-12—just some little nitpicky notes.

Overall, Sewell is a top-five player in this draft. He plays with high-end athletic ability, power, length, run blocking, and pass protection. That doesn’t mean he’s the cleanest technique-wise, but it does mean he still has room to grow. He’s a very good football player that should be a quality tackle at the next level. 


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