By: Lucas Kochevar
With the seventh overall pick in the NFL Draft, the Detroit Lions selected OL Penei Sewell. The Detroit Lions started their culture rebuild with the hire of HC Dan Campbell and GM Brad Holmes. These two have the task of turning around an aggressively mediocre team in Detroit. The way they conducted their first draft showed that they had a purpose in building up the trenches. Their first pick in their tenure was arguably the best offensive lineman in this draft class. Sewell stands at 6'6 at 330 lbs. The remarkable part about his size is what he is able to do with it. He is one of the most agile big guys to come out of college and should fit right in. Similar to All-Pro OG Quenton Nelson, he pops on film with how powerful he is. He plays the game with violence and ill-intent. He should plug in at LT for the Lions.
Sewell started as a young freshman for the Oregon Ducks and played his college games under the age of 20 years old. After suffering an ankle injury that cut short his freshman season, Sewell would return to play in all 13 games in his sophomore year. Sewell was relatively disciplined during his two years when he was only called for two holding penalties over 21 games played. Sewell also kept Justin Herbert, who was his QB at the time, clean when he allowed only two sacks. Sewell ran a zone run scheme with the Ducks where they averaged 5.6 yards per carry.
Lions' OC Anthony Lynn moves on from his head coaching days with the Chargers and looks to build his name back up and win games with Detroit. Sewell is an excellent player to have lead the charge for changing the run game. The Lions haven't had a dominant run game since Barry Sanders was in uniform. With D'Andre Swift and Sewell, the Lions can re-establish this aspect of the offense to help Jared Goff, who excelled in LA when he had Todd Gurley in his prime. Sewell has excellent footwork when blocking to the 2nd level and outside the numbers. His ability to attack defenders makes him a danger to any linebacker in his path. The rushing attack is where he'll make his money. Pass blocking is the weaker part of his game, although he is competent. His film shows that he tends to fall victim to finesse moves and gets stuck in the mud. Although, his strength and agility helps him recover in different instances. He will be an excellent weapon in the screen game.
Sewell was touted as a generational prospect and the film does not disappoint. Sewell projects as one of the most athletic tackles in the game and should be a force for years to come as long as the injury bug doesn't get him. Not many linemen pop on tape like Sewell. The Lions got a foundation piece to build around on that line.