When the Detroit Lions were on the clock for their first-round pick, seventh overall, in this year’s draft, they were staring at a name they weren’t sure would be available and jumped at the chance to make the selection. Now, after three preseason games, should they be worried about whether or not they made the right choice?
The Lions selected offensive tackle Penei Sewell, a left tackle at Oregon University, and have given him a new position to learn at right tackle. Through the offseason, things seemed fine with Sewell. But now that he’s had a chance to play in three games, the reviews aren’t so great.
Specifically, Pro Football Focus felt Sewell struggled in his limited action against the Indianapolis Colts on Friday night to end the preseason and noted his transition to the NFL might be a bumpy one which is sort of what everyone should have expected. He’s a left tackle being shifted to the right side of the offensive line, which requires at least a little bit of learning and adjusting.
Drafting a player in the first round, he’s going to have high expectations. While players in years past have been drafted along the offensive line and excelled instantly, how many did so while switching tackle positions?
Sewell isn’t just getting adjusted to the NFL level of gameplay, he’s also adjusting to a new position. This is probably why he was the only starter from the Detroit Lions offense to even start versus the Colts.
Here’s what Mike O’Hara of the Detroit Lions official website wrote recently …
“Rookie right tackle Penei Sewell was the only starter on the Lions’ offense who started the game, but it wasn’t a demotion. The coaching staff wanted to give Sewell more experience before facing the 49ers in the opener at Ford Field. Sewell played the first two possessions, a total of 18 snaps.”
While the result might not have been the greatest in terms of grades, the experience is invaluable. Sewell’s getting reps and learning from them, hands-on. It can only make him better going forward and help with getting him even more comfortable in a different position than he played in college. It also might help him in shaking off whatever rust remains from sitting out the 2020 college football season.
These Detroit Lions are certainly expecting a lot from their top draft choice this past April. And that’s okay. Just know that it could take a little bit of time to get acclimated to his new role in the NFL. In the short term, it might not look so hot for the rookie. But in the long term, the entire team could be reaping the rewards. Just give it a little time.