Grading the last five Detroit Lions first-round draft picks
2021: OT Penei Sewell, Oregon; 7th overall
The Lions were thrilled to get Sewell seventh overall in the 2021 draft. He was immediately installed as the right tackle, learning a new position after playing left tackle at Oregon. And oh by the way, he opted out of the 2020 season in college due to the COVID pandemic.
When Taylor Decker suffered a finger injury just before Week 1, Sewell moved to left tackle. He had a rough couple of games in October, allowing a total of four sacks in Week 4 and Week 5 (two sacks allowed in each). But he allowed just one sack in his other 14 games, as he also shifted back to right tackle when Decker returned after missing the first eight games.
Pro Football Focus graded Sewell as the sixth-best right tackle in the league last season, and the 10th-best run-blocking tackle among all offensive tackles.
Sewell gave a harsh self-assessment of his rookie season, and he certainly has a bit of room to improve as a pass blocker while honing his consistency overall. But he’s a future star and a building block for the Lions.