After another top-notch performance on Sunday, Penei Sewell is proving the Lions made the right pick in April’s draft.
With the seventh overall pick in April’s draft, the Detroit Lions took Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell. Given how the board fell and with a bit of hindsight mixed in, it’s easy to lament the Lions not taking Justin Fields, Mac Jones, Ja’Marr Chase (who went off the board at No. 5 to Cincinnati), etc.
Some people like to, however sarcastically, keep count of Chase’s touchdowns compared to Sewell’s.
Sewell struggled in Week 4 and Week 5, allowing four total sacks. He turned it around at left tackle in three games after that, then posted what some would call a “clean sheet” (no pressures or sacks allowed) in Week 10 against the Pittsburgh Steelers when he moved to right tackle to accomodate the return of Taylor Decker at left tackle.
On Sunday against the Browns, Sewell did it again. He did not allowed a single pressure, and earned a 81.1 grade from Pro Football Focus. Over the last five games (six weeks), Sewell has the sixth-highest overall PFF grade among all offensive tackles (83.8). It’s fair to assume he’s the only one in the top-10 who has started multiple games at both positions over that stretch.
Penei Sewell was the right pick for the Lions
While drafting a quarterback or one of the top wide receivers available with the seventh pick in this year’s draft might’ve been nice, it also would have been a shiny object to make it too easy to overlook the flaws throughout the Lions’ roster. Said quarterback would have surely been hampered by a lack of pass protection, made worse by Decker’s injury to start the season and center Frank Ragnow going down to a season-ending injury in Week 4.
If the Lions had taken DeVonta Smith, Jaylen Waddle or someone of that ilk, then a young wide receiver would have been stunted by playing with Jared Goff (and Tim Boyle for a couple games) this year.
Instead, the Lions secured the best offensive lineman in the draft and he has mostly been excellent this season. Sewell hasn’t been able to cover up most of the flaws around him on Detroit’s offense, but along with his tangible skill he has played with the kind of aggressive edge the team could use more of.