The following is an excerpt from The 2021 Football Rookie Handbook, which is available now at ACTA Sports. The Kindle edition can be found here.
Scouting Report by John Todd
Penei Sewell: 6-5, 330 pounds – Tackle – Oregon
Final Grade: 7.2
Sewell will immediately upgrade an NFL team’s running game with his strength and fundamentals at all levels, and with minor upper-body refinements as a pass protector will be a more than reliable blind-side protector for years to come.
Penei Sewell was the left tackle for Oregon’s zone offense for 2 years before opting out of the 2020 season. He had shoulder labrum surgery in 2017 before enrolling but then started as a true freshman from Day 1 for 20 of 21 career games.
He missed 6 games his first year due to a high ankle sprain that needed surgery, but returned for his bowl game. He was a teenager for every collegiate game he played. He’s high-waisted with ideal size for the position. He’s a very fluid athlete for his size and is abnormally comfortable in space. He’s a physical presence up front who sets a tone and will finish opponents at all levels of the field.
As a pass protector, Sewell is difficult to work past, but he isn’t without his faults. He kicks off the ball with fundamentally sound short steps and square footwork to all set levels. He tends to bend at the waist slightly but he sits with good knee flexion and strafes to and through contact beautifully. He seeks work and senses moving parts up front well.
He’s not a quick-twitch athlete and has shown to be a bit rigid in pass pro with the occasional issue changing direction in tight quarters. Sewell’s biggest issue is his wide hands in his initial punch. He consistently attacks rushers’ shoulder pads instead of keeping his elbows tight and latching onto their chest plate. He can extend early and leave himself open to finesse moves inside.
However, his anchor strength, sound, quick base, and body control at awkward angles keep him from losing most battles. Additionally, he’s an exceptional blocker ahead of screen passes, stalking and swallowing up smaller defenders in space with ease.
|Dominant run blocker||Wide hands|
|2nd-Level and space blocking||Slight rigidity in pass pro|
The most notable facet of Sewell’s game, however, is his dominance in the run game. He was the anchor of Oregon’s ground attack and a force in any scheme to any run direction. He fires off with good pad level for his size and his core strength and wide base and feet regularly walk defenders off the ball and reset the line of scrimmage.
On the front side of wide zones he excels at exploding his hips through a straight arm and locking out after contact to clear running lanes. He skip-pulls inside fluidly and arrives with force, and pulls outside into space like a freight train. He sustains well with great grip strength and heavy feet, but he’s at his best combination blocking up to the second level. Sewell’s ability to knock off a lineman in a double team, then advance up to and engulf linebackers is phenomenal and was the staple concept of much of Oregon’s inside run game.
He still attacks with wide hands too often and can get caught hugging, but the rest of his elements in the run game add up to an ideal road grader.
Sewell projects as an elite NFL tackle in any offensive scheme. There’s no reason to move him from the blind side, but he’d make for a dominant right tackle or guard if necessary. Sewell can stand to refine his upper-body technique in pass protection with more patience and a tighter punch, but he’s an immediate game-changer in the run and screen games.