Within the Detroit Lions' facility, there is a small card up on the wall that reads the following: LT Penei Sewell, 6-foot-6, 331 pounds, Oregon.
While some teams have him going top five, I am hearing he is dropping on other draft boards, because teams are questioning the finesse, athletic offensive lineman’s skills as a run-blocker.
What happens if he is available when the Lions are on the clock?
Whether you are a die-hard football fan or just someone who likes to watch movies and has seen “The Blindside" film, you already know left tackle is the most important position on the offensive line.
Every year, it seems like there is that one “gotta have him,” top-10 poster child that every team, or at least every team with a right-handed quarterback, covets.
Left tackle may very well be the second-most sought after position after a franchise quarterback,
So, if Sewell slides, it will be so tempting.
I know the Lions just made a monstrous commitment to LT Taylor Decker (4 years/$60M).
If the Lions do not take Sewell at No. 7, it may be the perfect time to entertain calls from the teams who are scrambling and offering the farm to move up.
Before we get into all that, I want to share what I look for in a left tackle. The Cowboys’ Tyron Smith instantly comes to mind. Smith is the best left tackle I have seen in the game over the past couple of seasons -- when he is healthy.
The most important attributes for a left tackle are footwork, lateral foot speed, balance, athletic ability and handwork.
Physicality is debatable. Some teams like mean, aggressive maulers who deliver pancake blocks. Meanwhile, others seem content on settling for more of a nimble, finesse and graceful left tackle that keeps his uniform clean.
Between now and draft day, the name Penei Sewell will be uttered several times within the war room in Detroit by scouts, coaches, management and perhaps even ownership.
But, is he a fit for the Lions?
LT Penei Sewell, Oregon Ducks - 6-foot-6, 331 pounds
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Grade: A- (Good player, but not elite; he's good enough to win with, however)
Kelly's draft board: Top 15; first round
Excellent athlete with big, thick body and graceful feet who excels at sealing off the edge in pass protection and is more of a positional leverage run-blocker. An opt out. More of a finesse tackle with a very controlled aggressive streak. Plays to avoid injury. Slides out nicely, and uses size to wall off the perimeter. Nimble. Needs some training with hand work, and sometimes lets his foot off the gas too soon. Great athletic ability. Showed ability to pull out in space on running plays to the outside. Good-looking playing speed for a big man. Not a mauler, but more of a seal-off blocker that excels at gaining body-positioning leverage to turn his man inside or out. Can hold the point, but sometimes barely long enough or not long enough at all. Stays off the ground mostly, but sometimes snaps and finishes convincingly.
He reminds me a lot of center Kevin Mawae, in terms of playing style and demeanor. He reminds me of someone along the lines of Chris Samuels as a left tackle.
I do not see him ending up in Detroit for three reasons: 1.) The huge financial commitment to Taylor Decker, 2.) Detroit has more pressing needs than stacking the left tackle position and 3.) I do not think Sewell fits the mean and aggressive profile new Lions head coach Dan Campbell is looking for, based on his introductory press conference.
No question, Sewell is a 10-year starter in the National Football League, from what I am seeing on film.
I just do not think he is a fit in Detroit.
However, he fits the Minnesota Vikings like a glove at No. 14 overall, as a result of the outside running and screen game they possess with star running back Dalvin Cook.
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