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NFL Draft Rumors: Scouts think Penei Sewell is overrated

“He’s going high because there’s nobody else.”

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 21 Oregon at Stanford Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Every year since the 1980s, Bob McGinn has polled NFL scouts, general managers, and evaluators heading into the NFL draft about the draft class and top prospects. Before moving to purely anonymous names, even former Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff showed up from time to time.

McGinn polls the evaluators about who they like the most, who they hate, and generally give lonely scouts an outlet to complain about players or the NFL in general. The evaluations are fun to look at, both before and after the draft, as the accuracy of those rankings don’t always play out.

However, they are the most interesting and comprehensive look into what some of these evaluators think about specific players, positions, and the NFL.

With the Falcons still publicly undecided on the fourth overall pick, the draft’s top offensive lineman has been occasionally connected to Atlanta. After all, look at what the Titans did to help Arthur Smith put together a dominant offense. They drafted offensive linemen high and often. Why not add the top tackle in the draft who should help the offense for the next decade?

“I put the tape on expecting to see Jonathan Ogden or Joe Thomas or Walter Jones or Orlando Pace, and I didn’t see it,” one longtime scout said. “But he’s going high because there’s nobody else.”

Another scout said Sewell projects to be a good player but not a “generational” talent. The term generational seems to be thrown around a lot but Kyle Pitts is expected to be a generational talent, however, tight ends have never been drafted as early as the Falcons’ pick. If Sewell goes as high as 4, you would hope he becomes a great player, if not borderline generational.

“You’d be really happy with having Sewell,” the executive said after completing the exercise. “He will trend toward being a Pro Bowl-level player if not competing to be one of the best tackles in the league and if not the best just off those comparisons.”

Evaluators believe Sewell is still raw but has plenty of room to grow. He is still only 20. Perhaps with a few years of development and increased strength, Sewell could be among the best tackles in the league.

The scouts, as they do with all prospects, poked some holes in Sewell’s game. Some questions about what film he put together in the 2019 season and if he would be able to start at tackle immediately.

That may be problematic for a fourth overall pick. There has been a surprising lack of smoke around Sewell and the Falcons. Atlanta has a big decision to make with their first pick, kicking off the path for the new regime. There are options, likely potential franchise quarterbacks, an elite tight end, some talented wide receivers, or even a trade down to load up on picks.

Whether or not Sewell is worth the risk may depend on which of these scouts are employed by Atlanta.