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Lions GM Brad Holmes Says Penei Sewell Will Be 'Ready' Week 1

Detroit Lions general manager Brad Holmes discusses right tackle Penei Sewell and his readiness to play in the NFL.

Detroit Lions rookie offensive lineman Penei Sewell is expected to perform at a high level when he steps out on the football field Week 1 against the San Francisco 49ers. 

An organization does not invest a high, day one draft pick in a player, if the front office or coaching staff does not believe that the player can contribute at a high level. 

The caveat for Sewell is that he is being asked by the Lions' coaching staff to change which side of the offensive line he is playing on.

In college, the 20-year-old lineman played left tackle, and he was a dominant force playing in the Pac-12 for the Oregon Ducks.

Through training camp and three preseason games, Sewell, at times, struggled to stand his ground against opposing defensive linemen.

Against the Indianapolis Colts, both Sewell and Tyrell Crosby were beaten badly by an aggressive rush, and Lions backup quarterback Tim Boyle ultimately paid the price. 

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"I believe that he will be ready for Week 1. I mean, he's ready now," Holmes said. "He's going through the normal process that a rookie would go through, regardless of where he's drafted. That's a tough position to play out there, on that island."

The Lions' front office and coaching staff have explained all throughout training camp that Sewell's transition to playing on the right side would take some time and would involve some early growing pains. 

Recall, Sewell also missed a whole calendar year of playing, since he opted out of the 2020 college football season. 

Detroit's 2021 first-round pick will be responsible for learning new techniques, in order to effectively play on the right side. 

Holmes added, "He's sat out for the year. What he's done, I know it's magnified about what maybe is perceived or seen as a hiccup here or there, but there's so much other good stuff that may be kind of hidden when you really deep dive the film. Little subtle nuances that he's doing that is going to make a big difference. I think he's got the work that he needs to get -- both in the preseason games and in practice."

Sewell's battles against the Lions' defensive linemen, especially against Romeo Okwara, should pay immediate dividends for the rookie.

"Going up against Romeo (Okwara) every day. Romeo looks even better, after we paid him," Holmes explained. "We felt good about him when we paid him. It's like, wow! But, he's getting him better."