By Dylan MacKinnon
By the time he was 15 Penei Sewell already had 17 Scholarship offers. He would go on to get offers from some of the biggest Schools in the Nation. Alabama, LSU, Oklahoma, Notre Dame, they all wanted Sewell. And for good reason. At 15 years old he was 6 foot 6 and weighed 349 pounds. He was the best OG recruit coming out of the state of Utah, and the 2nd best in the nation. He landed at Oregon, and in his freshmen year was named to the Freshman All American team despite missing 7 games with an ankle sprain.
Allowed Zero Sacks
Before his Sophomore season Sewell dropped 20 pounds to get to 330. Trimming down seemed to work, because as good as his shortened freshmen year was, he was even better in 2019. He played 13 out of a possible 14 games. In those games he didn’t allow a single sack. Zero. Perhaps more impressive is that in 9 of those games, he didn’t even allow a single QB pressure or hurry.
That feat earned him The Outland trophy, given out to the best lineman every year. It also made him a unanimous All-American, a feat accomplished by only 364 players since 1924. He is also only the 3rd player from Oregon to accomplish that. Plus he was the Co AP PAC-12 Offensive Player of the year. He also won the Morris Trophy given to the best Offesnive or Defensive Lineman in the Pac 12. And he also was the Co-recipient of the Polynesian Player of the year with Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa. He won more hardware in one season than many get across their careers.
He opted out of the 2020 season to prepare for the Draft, but his head coach Mario Cristobal still had high praise. In an interview with Bruce Feldman of The Athletic, he said the following.
“He elevated the standard of performance. In terms of the way he plays the game, the way he gets after it in terms of the physicality, knocking people back, unlocking hips, getting hands on people. The conference is very happy to see him go. Let’s just say that.”- Mario Cristóbal
Sewell is also the type of guy to block downfield and outside the hashes. The play doesn’t end when the ball leaves the QB’s hand for him.
Studied Penei Sewell this morning for @TheDraftNetwork crosschecks and his most impressive asset to me is what he gives you outside the hashes. His blocking radius and influence to the perimeter on play-side runs or this kind of action is phenomenal. pic.twitter.com/ea7uHHY4mc— Kyle Crabbs (@GrindingTheTape) February 16, 2021
No one can accuse Sewell of not having the drive to be great. In his freshman year he sprained his ankle in early October. It kept him out through the rest of their games, but he was determined to play in the Redbox Bowl vs Michigan State.
“When I heard we were going to a later bowl game, that motivated me more. I asked what I needed to do and when they said it all, I thought there had to be more. I wanted to do more, more, more so I would be ready to play in this bowl game.” – Penei Sewell
His team mates often credited Sewell for driving the rest of the team to be better. “He is real physical and the edge he brings motivates me to up my game,” said Oregon’s Left Guard Shane Lemieux at the time. “After I see a freshman who is so good, I think I need to step my game up. He’s a real big competitor and I like his energy when he is on the field.”
Even coach Mario Cristobal gave Sewell credit. “He brought a competitive nature and a relentless attitude to it that is infectious and something that needs to be carried on,” he told Bruce Feldman of The Athletic.
Penei Sewell didn't allow more than 2 QB pressures in any of his 21 games at Oregon pic.twitter.com/88ynLACYRv— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) February 8, 2021
What The Experts Says
“Sewell has excellent get-off at the line of scrimmage as a run blocker, and he carries charged momentum into his first block. Additionally, Sewell has otherworldly balance amidst contact. Some linemen take themselves out of plays if they can’t control their body, but Sewell is controlled and calculated with how he directs his frame.
Sewell operates with urgency and stores a massive amount of potential energy on each play. He exerts immense amounts of power without lurching and losing control. He also does well moving to the second level, navigating through crowds with nice acceleration and vision. Once he reaches his target, Sewell’s anchor is strong, and he has the grip strength and the composure to drive opponents out of the picture.”
“Sewell has ideal size, quickness and power for the position. In the passing game, he’s quick out of his stance and does a nice job of staying square against his opponent. He’s a knee-bender and rarely lunges or loses his balance. He has extremely strong hands to lock on and steer edge rushers. He’s very aware versus games/stunts and if he’s free, he looks for work (nasty knockdowns).
In the run game, Sewell consistently gets underneath defenders, uproots and moves them off the line of scrimmage. He excels when he’s pulling or working up to the second level, and he gets there in a hurry. The 2019 Outland Trophy winner (best interior lineman) also collects plenty of knockdowns against second- and third-level defenders. He’s effective on combo blocks, too, working with the guard. I love his overall demeanor and toughness.”
“Penei Sewell aligns at left tackle and is a good athlete overall, as evidenced in his initial quickness of the snap and his body control and balance in his set. In the run game, he demonstrates his physical toughness as an in-line blocker. He comes off the ball with the intent to maul you inside and he’s dominant on combo blocks. In the passing game, he demonstrates his competitiveness and length on the perimeter. He’s rarely on the ground, but has a few reps where his technique falters a bit and puts his body in tough positions. Later in his career, he will easily kick inside to guard if athletic edge rushers start to give him issues. He may ultimately prove to be a better fit inside.”
People are dubbing Sewell the Best OT Prospect ever, and a can’t-miss guy. There is no actual thing as a can’t miss guy, but based on what every draft expert says it’s hard to see him missing. The only concern would be a non-insignificant injury history. He tore his Labrum in High School, and Sprained an ankle his freshmen year in college. Not enough to dub him injury prone, but enough to think about.
But beyond that his massive size to go with his athleticism projects to a guy who can be a dominant run and pass blocker who can be the cornerstone of a franchise for a long time.
It’s not likely he will be there at 6 for the Eagles. He seems locked in to be a Bengal. But there is a tiny chance he falls. If Eagles decide neither Andre Dillard nor Jordan Mailata are starting caliber LTs, Sewell could be their guy.