After being added to the injury report on Saturday, Lions rookie offensive tackle Penei Sewell will miss Sunday’s season finale.
Despite the “what if” scenarios fans like to put themselves through, the Detroit Lions made the right pick in taking offensive tackle Penei Sewell seventh overall in the 2021 draft. He has performed well throughout his rookie season, with few hiccups despite starting out at left tackle and moving back to his originally intended spot at right tackle midseason.
On Monday, the Lions placed starting offensive tackles Sewell and Taylor Decker on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Both were activated on Saturday afternoon, but Sewell was then added to the injury report and listed as questionable with a thumb injury and an illness.
The injury listing upon being activated made Sewell legitimately questionable for Sunday’s season finale against the Green Bay Packers. He is indeed inactive.
A disappointing end to a strong rookie season for Penei Sewell
Sewell had started all 16 games to this point in the season, making him the only Lions offensive lineman to have done so. Everyone else has missed at least one game (left guard Jonah Jackson has missed only one game, and has played every snap otherwise), and backups have taken over or shifted in and out of starting spots as a result.
As noted by the team website, Sewelll was Pro Football Focus’ 24th-ranked offensive tackle entering Sunday’s action with a top-10 run blocking grade and five sacks allowed (four sacks allowed over a two-game stretch early in the season).
Matt Nelson started eight games at right tackle for the Lions when Decker was out to start the season, when Sewell shifted to left tackle as mentioned. He will step in for Sewell on Sunday, with Decker holding down Jared Goff’s blindside. Will Holden will step into Nelson’s typical role as the swing tackle.
It’s certainly a disappointing end to Sewell’s rookie season for him to be out. But his overall work this year proved he is a future stalwart, as the Lions try to build the roster the right way.