This years stud offensive lineman, comes in the form of Penei Sewell. An American-Samoan 20 year old tackle, standing 6 foot 6, 325 pounds. Sewell is going to know where he’s going to be playing his NFL football within the first 6 picks of the draft, it’s going to be a short wait for the young man. 20 is about as young as it gets for a draft prospect, so what is it about Sewell that lands him so high on team boards? I’ll be taking a look…
Penei Sewell – Tackle – Oregon
Sewell comes from a small town in American Samoa, named Malaeimi. It’s population just over 1,000 people. Barely 20 years old, he’s about to enter the NFL as one of the most highly regarded offensive linemen in a long time, and will likely have his place in the league by the time the first five picks are announced.
Sewell has two brothers, Gabriel, who played at Nevada, and Nephi, who currently plays at Utah.
He was ranked a four star offensive lineman coming out of high school, and committed to Oregon in 2018. Oregon beat out a lot of good schools to get him into their program, including Alabama, Florida, Utah, USC, etc. He was a popular brand amongst the collegiate programs. But Oregon got their man, and he got right into the action in his freshman year.
Sewell would only play two seasons at Oregon, after deciding to opt out of the 2020 season in order to prepare for the draft, among the global pandemic circumstances. For a young man to make the decision to head to the NFL at the age of just 19, is not easy. But when you look at what he achieved in his fairly short time at Oregon, it begins to make sense.
Okay so why is Penei Sewell regarded the far and away best lineman in this seasons draft?
Listed at 6’6, and 325 pounds, Sewell comes with versatility. You can draft him and start him outside, but he’s also a potential inside guard. It’ll be a case of whoever drafts him making that decision, but he’s more than capable of playing multiple roles. Ideally suited best at the left tackle spot, an NFL team is likely going to be looking at him as the long term solution to their offensive line.
He started as a freshman, and played in 7 games before missing the rest of the season through injury. But considering he had barely dipped his toes into college football, he never committed a penalty in 450 snaps, and only gave up one sack in those 7 games. As a result he was graded the best freshman offensive lineman in the country, and the first Oregon lineman to ever receive All Pac-12 honors as a freshman, in their history. He had a pretty good year.
When he returned as a sophomore, it got even better, both for Sewell, and the Oregon Ducks & Justin Herbert. Ready for this? So he led the nation again, this time as the best overall lineman, and not just a freshman. He was graded the best offensive lineman in PFF history, since it began in 2014, grading a 95.5. He won the Outland trophy, which is awarded to the best lineman, on either the offensive OR defensive side of the ball. Bearing in mind he was 19 years old at the time. This is a trophy that’s been previously won by the likes of Joe Thomas, Ndamukong Suh, Aaron Donald, and Brandon Scherff. Decent company…
But we’re not done there. His sophomore season he didn’t allow a sack in 926 snaps. Not one, the whole season. He allowed a grand total of seven pressures on the quarterback, and only two hits. His list of accolades for the season included:
As A Sophomore (2019)
» Outland Trophy Winner
» Polynesian College Football Co-Player of the Year
» Morris Trophy Winner
» AP Pac-12 Co-Offensive Player of the Year
» PFF Pac-12 Player of the Year
» Unanimous first-team All-American
» AFCA All-America first team
» AP All-America first team
» FWAA All-America first team
» Sporting News All-America first team
» Walter Camp All-America first team
» Bleacher Report All-America first team
» CBS Sports All-America first team
» ESPN.com All-America first team
» PFF All-America first team
» Sports Illustrated All-America first team
» The Athletic All-America first team
» USA TODAY All-America first team
» AP Pac-12 All-Conference first team
» Coaches Pac-12 All-Conference first team
» Outland Trophy Offensive Player of the Month (September)
» Four-Time Pac-12 Offensive Lineman of the Week (Week 3, 4, 7 & 14)
» Six-time PFF National Team of the Week (Week 3, 4, 7, 8, 9 & 14)
» Nine-Time Pac-12 Team of the Week (Week 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 9, 12, 13 & 14)
Yes that’s a long list. I think we’re starting to paint a picture as to why NFL teams are so excited about this young man.
But let’s take a look at what it is he actually does so well to achieve all of these accomplishments.
He’s so quick off the line, and will destroy you physically. Regarded extremely highly in the run game, he possesses very strong athletic ability to get downfield and pancake linebackers, safeties, and anybody else who gets in his way. Not only that, but as mentioned above, he’s proven himself while isolated on the outside against pass rushers. One sack so far in his career. Just one. He understands how to position his body, use combination blocks and use his strength, size and length to his advantage. He seems to be very football smart, and has a very good grasp on techniques, and how to beat you.
If you’re trying to get to the runner and he stands in your way in the open field, you can forget it. He seems to throw guys out of the way with ease. How does he look so comfortable doing so?!
Not only that, but once he gets hold of you it’s over, and he will put pass rushers on the group as they try to get out of his grasp. Sewell makes great reads and will see the danger coming before it happens, positioning himself so effectively so that he’s balanced, well set, and ready to stop you dead in your tracks.
Penei Sewell possesses great character, looks like he’s having a tonne of fun playing the game, and leads by example. He’s so flawless for such a young guy, and that has to have teams excited. So where’s he going to land?
Penei Sewell fits best in a power run scheme. You need to utilise his ability to get downfield, into the second level, and pancake defensive players. Run the ball his way, get him out in front, and run behind him. He’ll find the tackler, and put him on the ground. Sewell is going to be seriously effective on screen plays and anything that allows the offensive line to start charging downfield.
Of course, the options for his landing spot are limited, as there’s a very slim chance he drops out of the top 5.
The most likely fit is Miami. If they stay here, and utilise the three pick, then Sewell should be the choice. He’s a Quenton Nelson type asset to your franchise, and that kind of talent isn’t something you should pass on all too often. I’ve said this before, but if the Dolphins take Sewell at three, get a receiver at 18, and then end of with Javonte Williams in round two, as their franchise running back, then that’s one hell of a draft for the Miami outfit.
Look out for Sewell having a very long and dominant career in the NFL. Considering he’s only 20 years old, and has achieved so much already… the sky is the limit for this young man.