5 Qs: Penei Sewell’s college career was ‘short, but legendary’

Pride of Detroit

With their first-round pick the Detroit Lions selected Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell. It’s not sexy. But still, it’s the right thing to do considering where the Lions were picking at. They got one of the premier players in the draft and hands down the best offensive lineman in the class.

While we know the PFF grades and what pundits feel about Sewell, we need to know more. So we reached out to our friends over at Addicted To Quack, the SB Nation blog for the Oregon Ducks, to get the low down. Oregon expert Chris Chimeo dropped some knowledge for us. Here’s what he had to say:

1. What are your thoughts on Sewell’s time at Oregon?

“Short, but legendary. Penei Sewell came to Oregon as the highest rated offensive line commit in program history, and he managed to exceed even those high expectations.

Rated a high four-star from the 247 composite, Sewell managed to impress new head coach Mario Cristobal enough to become a week-one starter at left tackle despite the presence of multiple veteran linemen already in the system. He wowed Oregon fans during the first six games of his debut season before an injury to his right ankle took him out for the rest of the regular season. Fortunately, he got to lead the team to a victory in the Redbox Bowl against Michigan State to cap off his freshman campaign.

Then, in year two, Sewell won the Outland Trophy, finished as the top-graded offensive lineman in Pro Football Focus history, and delivered the Ducks their first Rose Bowl victory in five years. Though Duck fans would have loved to see him play his junior season, COVID-19 put an end to that dream. Now, you can bet a flock of Ducks will tune in to Lions football purely to see this freak athlete, who proved himself on and off the field.”

2. Can Sewell play right tackle?

“Coach Cristobal and offensive line coach Alex Mirabal have long preached adaptability when it comes to offensive linemen. Sewell has always played left tackle while at Oregon because of his raw talent, but he also trained at right tackle on occasion, mainly during preseason camp as an extra precaution.”

3. What are his strengths?

“A professional mentality combined with a rare combination of speed and strength. During his freshman season, he tallied 450 snaps but just one penalty and one sack. The next season, he started 13 of Oregon’s 14 games played during the 2019 season and allowed just seven pressures and two hits on the quarterback. He’s got what it takes physically and mentally to become a fantastic NFL lineman. Jared Goff should feel nice and cozy in that pocket this season.”

4. What are his weaknesses?

“He’s a little undersized (6-foot-4 ⅞ inches, with 33 ¼ inch arms), and even though he had a great two years of college ball he still has room for improvement. He was injured for half his freshman season, so that could be something to look out for as well.”

5. There’s belief out there that Sewell is a future All-Pro tackle. Should Lions fans buy into the hype?

“This is coming from a homer Duck fan, but yes. Yes you should. Barring a disastrous injury that could happen to any football player, I’d say you guys made the best pick of the draft.”

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