No. 1 Offensive Tackle, No.1 Overall
Weight: 331 Lbs
Position: Offensive Tackle
On October 9th, 2000, Penei Sewell was born in Malaeimi, American Samoa where he would live till 2012. After moving to St. George, Utah in 2012 Sewell would pick up football, and would play for Desert Hills High School. It wouldn’t take long for universities to come knocking hoping to win over the Samoan “man-child”. As just a 14-year old sophomore Sewell started at right tackle for Desert Hills. By his senior year he was a U.S. Army All-American and viewed as the top player in the state of Utah. 247Sports would have him listed as the No. 2 overall guard in the nation behind Jamaree Salyer. Over 25 schools offered him a scholarship including schools like Alabama, LSU, Florida and Notre Dame. On February 7th, 2018 Penei Sewell committed to the University of Oregon on National Signing Day.
As a true freshman Sewell would make enough noise to become a Day 1 starter for the Oregon Ducks at left tackle. Unfortunately just seven games into his career he would suffer a knee injury ending his season. Oregon would have an up and down year losing close games to No. 7 Stanford and Utah. Justin Herbert would flash onto the scene finishing with 31 touchdowns, and the Ducks would go on to beat Michigan State 7-6 in the Redbox Bowl. They would finish the year 9-4, but go 5-4 in Pac-12 play. Even in a shortened season Sewell still was voted as a USA Today Freshman All-American. He gave up just one sack, and not a single penalty in his 450 offensive snaps.
In 2019 Penei Sewell would assert his dominance across the Pac-12 and announce himself to NFL scouts. Oregon would lose its season opener against Auburn in a very close game then go on to win nine straight games. During that span the Ducks would have one game over 300-yards rushing and another three games over 220-yards rushing. They would stumble against Arizona State losing another close game 31-28. After that however Oregon would rush for 239-yards in a victory over Utah to win the Pac-12 Championship. Penei Sewell would help Justin Herbert rush for three touchdowns in a Rose Bowl victory a month later. The Ducks finished 12-2 on the season, and Penei Sewell would walk away with plenty of awards at the end of the season. Sewell was awarded the Morris Trophy and the Outland Trophy along with sharing the 2019 Polynesian College Football Player of the Year award with Tua Tagovailoa.
Early September of 2020 Sewell announced that he would be opting out of the 2020 season. He was one of many top tier talents that decided on forgoing this season to prepare for the NFL Draft.
Strengths and Weaknesses
Sewell has many strengths to his game which is why he is so highly regarded. For starters he will be starting in the NFL at the age of 20. He won’t be 21 till roughly Week 5 of the season thus giving him the opportunity of a very long career. His run blocking is my favorite attribute about him right now. He can just flat out maul opposing defenders, and normally gets to the second level with ease.
For someone that is over 320-pounds like Sewell, you would never expect him to be as fast as he is. His footwork can improve but as far as his agility goes he is as fluid as you could imagine. Over the 678 pass blocking attempts Penei faced in his two years with the Ducks he only allowed one sack.
Lower leg injuries on offensive tackles are normally a red flag but Sewell’s performance has only picked up since it happened. Surprisingly Penei Sewell picked up football just eight years ago which really puts his natural talent into perspective. That natural talent has prevented him from perfecting his technique and craft as an offensive tackle. This isn’t anything to stress over though as NFL coaching will fix that easily.
Most times you watch Penei Sewell and see one of the best NFL prospects in recent memory. His consistency when that player comes out is probably his biggest issue. If you watch enough of his tape you will see he can get lazy and simply let defenders come to him.
NFL Draft Projection/NFL Player Comp
NFL Draft Projection
Even with two phenomenal quarterback prospects, Penei Sewell is still my No. 1 overall prospect on the board. He is a cornerstone offensive tackle and some review him as the best offensive tackle in 30 years. The Jaguars, Jets and 49ers are all pretty much locked into quarterback with the first three picks. With that being said Sewell really starts to come into play with the fourth pick with Atlanta, but I believe he still finds a way to the Bengals.
Joe Burrow is a franchise quarterback, but if you keep letting him get run over then we might not ever see that. Jonah Williams can be moved inside to guard which will allow you to keep Riley Reiff at right tackle. I am fully confident that Penei Sewell can handle himself if he is thrown into the fire Week 1. Williams, Sewell and Reiff plus the other piece the Bengals have on their offensive line suddenly make for a rather decent group with plenty of upside.
NFL Player Comp
It is hard to find someone who truly compares to Penei Sewell’s raw talent and potential. Trent Williams was probably our last true cornerstone tackle that has come into the NFL as of late, and before that was Joe Thomas. I think Trent Williams would be a good ceiling for Sewell as they were both about as well rounded as you could ask for coming out of college.
I think that Sewell could come into the NFL and instantly become a Pro-Bowl caliber tackle. Factor in that he will be 20 years old taking his first career NFL snap and you are looking at possibly the best tackle prospect we’ve ever seen.