Former NFL and college head coach Jim Mora believes the New York Jets should draft offensive tackle Penei Sewell with the No. 2 overall pick of next month's NFL draft.
Why? Because Sewell is going to be a Hall of Famer.
"I think that Penei Sewell from Oregon is the guy," More told Jets Country. "He's so athletic, he's got bend and I think he's a guy that you can put at left tackle on Day 1, for the next 15 years count on him to protect your quarterback and then have him go into the Hall of Fame."
Mora isn't making a rash assessment here. The former head coach is quite familiar with the kind of player and prospect that Sewell is. In fact, when Mora was coaching at UCLA, he recruited Sewell out of high school.
"It was evident when he was in high school that this guy was special," Mora recalled. "Aside from the size, the athleticism that he had, he had feet like a shorebird ... He's so light on his feet."
Sewell went on to choose the University of Oregon where he blossomed into arguably the best offensive lineman of this year's draft class. Protecting the blind size of future NFL quarterback Justin Herbert at Oregon, Sewell gave all 32 NFL franchises a sneak peek as to how much of an asset he can be at the next level.
Even if Sewell opted out of his junior season with the Ducks in 2020, making sure he was healthy and ready for the draft, Mora doesn't believe his draft stock will be impacted whatsoever.
"A lot of people, when they talk about Penei who opted out of this last season, ask would that hurt him in the draft? Absolutely not," Mora explained. "He's such a skilled player, he's dominated in the Pac-12. He's shown what his worth is, he's shown his skill set, just protecting a business investment. Now I think the Jets can be the big payoff for him."
As Mora noted, Jets general manager Joe Douglas has preached in the past that his plan is to build this franchise through the draft and through the offensive and defensive line. He demonstrated that initiative one year ago, taking left tackle Mekhi Becton with New York's first-round pick.
With potentially two young left tackles on this roster, Mora said the Jets could put Sewell at right tackle for his rookie year or test both phenoms out prior to the beginning of the season to see who fits best on either side of the line.
Either way, having two reliable and high-upside tackles, projecting to protect the quarterback for potentially the next decade, would be a huge step in the right direction for a two-win team looking to build toward contention.
After all, there are plenty of positional weaknesses that this team needs to address over the next several years. Barring injury or any unprecedented circumstances, this would check off offensive tackle for the foreseeable future.
Mixing in the hire of new head coach Robert Saleh this offseason, and the addition of Mike LaFleur as Gang Green's offensive coordinator, Mora has faith that New York will "do this right" and pick Sewell.
"I always go back to the big, physical, athletic, powerful, dominant, healthy offensive lineman when you're trying to build a team," he said. "They're not going to make rash decisions to please the fans, they're not going to go for the splash pick, they're gonna pick the guy that fits what they want their organization to look like in the long run."
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