Could another rookie be more productive than Sewell?
Productive can be a subjective word. I expect Penei Sewell will be a huge contributor to the Lions offense and help solidify a unit that should be capable of running the ball and protecting Jared Goff in the passing game.
Those contributions by Sewell will be very important to the ability of the Lions offense to be productive as a whole. Even if Sewell is gathering pancakes left and right, will that make him the most productive member of the draft class?
Frank Ragnow is among the best center’s in the league, if not the best. Left tackle Taylor Decker is coming off a very good year and left guard Jonah Jackson looks like another young building block. Together this can be a very good unit. Will Sewell stand out in this group as a rookie?
I think Sewell is a day one starter, just like everyone else in Detroit does. I think he will be very solid right from the beginning and as the player in the 2021 draft voted most likely to become a Hall of Famer, he will only gather momentum as the season progresses.
Yet even with all of that, he may not be the most productive member of this Lions’ draft class.
That doesn’t mean he won’t be, but there are a couple of others at high profile positions who could very well at least give Sewell a run for his money. Especially given the state of their position groups.
One candidate is linebacker Derrick Barnes. The linebacking corps is a decided weakness. How quickly Barnes actually sees the field will be a combination of how quickly he adjusts to the NFL and if any of the other linebackers are able to play well enough to keep him on the bench.
Barnes has great sideline to sideline speed and is a sure tackler when he arrives. He is also versatile enough to be used as a pass-rusher off the edge. If Barnes can work his way onto the field, he could be productive. However, he would not be my first choice to be the Lions’ most productive rookie.