Penei Sewell is a plus athlete who held down the left tackle position at the University of Oregon. Before becoming this draft class’s best offensive lineman, he was raised in American Samoa, Sewell’s family moved to Utah where he played at Desert Hills High School. In Oregon, Sewell started as a True Freshman but missed time in 2018 due to an ankle injury. That only slowed him down a little, as Sewell became the first sophomore offensive lineman and first Oregon Duck to win the Outland Trophy, which is awarded to the best college football interior lineman.
Sewell, like many other college athletes, opted out of the 2020 season due to the COVID pandemic, but has been regarded as the top offensive line prospect of the 2021 draft.
Here’s my evaluation of Penei Sewell and why the Falcons could have him on their radar for #4 or a trade down.
Player Height/Weight: 6’5” – 331 lbs
Games Watched: vs. Cal (2019), vs. Stanford(2019), Vs. Auburn(2019)
- An explosive athlete who quick off the snap.
- Good core strength and stout at the point of attack.
- Scheme versatile, easily fitting in both man and zone based blocking schemes.
- Plays with good balance.
- Young (20 years old) with massive growth potential.
- Quick feet with good change of direction skills.
- Able to mirror EDGE rushes on the speed rush.
- Looks to strike violently at the second level.
- Able to make angled blocks looks easier than most.
- Good ability to sustain blocks.
- A great level of hustle and toughness, and a smart player who has no trouble recognizing blitzes and stunts.
- Shows a good initial punch and active hands.
- Shows an ability to recover when initially beaten.
- Shows good bend and plays with adequate leverage.
- Has a good ability to anchor versus the bull rush.
- I would like to see him finish more and play to the whistle.
- While it’s not a massive weaknesses, he could stand to get stronger overall.
- Needs to use his length to his advantage more.
- Can over-set at times, with speed rushers making him susceptible to the inside counter.
- Needs to work more on conditioning, as his technique can suffer as the game progresses.
The Falcons, under coach Arthur Smith and general manager Terry Fontenot, have expressed a real commitment to getting better on both lines of scrimmage. Penei Sewell could certainly help with that. Although, based on my analysis, he projects better as a left tackle at the next level, he certainly has the ability be kicked inside to play guard for at least the short term, which is good because that is currently a position of need for the Falcons.
A very gifted athlete with good feet and a nasty demeanor, Sewell could give another top level prospect to an offensive line that has well-chronicled struggles when it comes to protecting Ryan in previous years. Could the Falcons consider him at #4 overall?
Let’s make it easy: He’s my top offensive line prospect in the 2021 draft, and it’s absolutely possible that the Falcons are considering him there as he projects to be a top 10 pick. It’s just a question of what the team’s top priority is when they’re on the clock in late April, whether that’s protecting the franchise quarterback they already have, or selecting a new one.