The Detroit Lions kicked off their rebuild last November with the firing of general manager Bob Quinn and head coach Matt Patricia after three back-to-back-back losing seasons in Motown. This offseason the Lions hired Brad Holmes and Dan Campbell to replace Quinn and Patricia respectively.
The new regime in Detroit started to retool the front office, coaching staff, and the roster. The biggest move being a trade that sent longtime quarterback Matthew Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams for a bounty of high draft picks and sixth-year passer Jared Goff.
Several more changes to the roster followed. And the Lions entered the 2021 NFL Draft on Thursday night owning the seventh overall selection in the first round with a bevy of roster voids to fill. And after months of mock drafts and speculation, we now have the answer to which prospect will be the first player drafted by the new regime in Motown.
With the seventh overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Lions selected Penei Sewell, the offensive tackle out of Oregon. Sewell figures to immediately slot in as the starter at right tackle and represents the third first-round selection to be invested in the offensive line since 2016. The other two first-rounders being Taylor Decker at left tackle and center Frank Ragnow.
Starting the past two seasons for the Ducks, Sewell is 6-foot-6, 330-pounds, and is considered the top offensive lineman in his class. He gave up just a single sack over 1,376 snaps in that span. Sewell helps to complete an offensive line that should protect new quarterback Jared Goff better as well as open rushing lanes for running back D’Andre Swift entering his second season in Detroit.
The Lions history of first-round selections since 2010
2010 – Ndamukong Suh, DT – Nebraska
2010 – Jahvid Best, RB – California
2011 – Nick Fairley, DT – Auburn
2012 – Riley Reiff, OT – Iowa
2013 – Ezekiel Ansah, DE – BYU
2014 – Eric Ebron, TE – North Carolina
2015 – Laken Tomlinson, G – Duke
2016 – Taylor Decker, OT – Ohio State
2017 – Jarrad Davis, LB – Florida
2018 – Frank Ragnow, C – Arkansas
2019 – T. J. Hockenson, TE – Iowa
2020 – Jeff Okudah, CB – Ohio State
The Detroit Lions will enter day three of the 2021 NFL Draft with three more draft selections to make. In the second round, the Lions own pick No. 41. And in the third round, Detroit has the 72 overall selection and 101st pick, the latter coming by way of the Rams via the Matthew Stafford trade.