The Future 2021 NFL Draft Prospects: Penei Sewell
Penei Sewell is the best offensive line prospect in this class and arguably the best we have seen in a long time. He is a freak of an athlete at 6'6, 325lbs he moves with ease and space and can take out anybody standing in his way. He opted out of 2020 but was awarded the Outland Trophy for the best offensive linemen in the country as a true sophomore. He's allowed only one sack on over 1300 snaps and allowed only 7 pressures on 491 pass-blocking snaps in 2019. To put it simply he rarely allows the rusher in front of him to get to the quarterback. Since this is my first linemen report I'll discuss below how well Sewell is in pass protection, lateral mobility, length, his use of his hands, how well he zone and power blocks, his power at the point of attack, how well he anchors, his versatility, and his athletic ability/size.
Pass Protection- He's elite in pass protection. He has very good, quick feet that allow him to get depth easily. He has a great combination of speed/quickness and size/power to be able to block both smaller speed rushers as well as bigger/stronger bull rushers. His length is elite and has the hand technique/power to counter many pass rush moves. He is the perfect blend of size, physicality, and athleticism to instantly become an elite pass protector. There are times where he can be too quick to give depth, allowing a lane inside for pass rusher and he can be a tad over-aggressive at times.
Lateral Mobility- Sewell is a very good athlete. He is smooth with his ability to move in space and he has very quick feet that allow him to often beat speed rushers to their spot. When in a three-point stance he is explosive to get out of it and get to where he needs to block, whether it be on the man in front of him, next to him, or someone at the 2nd level.
Length- He has yet to be measured yet at a pro day and since the combine was canceled we have to wait for his pro day for his numbers. On tape, though he has excellent length. He knows how to use his length to control, steer, as well as get the initial contact when facing edge rushers. He also knows how to use his length when locking on against pass rushers, often only having to use one arm to block shove defenders off balance.
Hands- His hands are very good and on their way to being elite. His timing is solid and he knows how to control edge rushers as well as deliver a very powerful initial pop in both the run and pass game where he can knock defenders off balance. There are times where he will miss his initial pop but he does an excellent job of readjusting/recovering and getting his hands back on the defender.
Zone Block- Oregon ran a primarily zone running scheme while Sewell was there so he can no doubt have success in that scheme again in the NFL. He has the quickness, footwork, and athleticism to be successful in reach blocks as well as blocks where he needs to get to the 2nd level of the defense and he can get on top of defenders with ease when working to the 2nd level. When blocking down he can create massive holes for backs to cut back in.
Power Block- I believe Sewell can play in any scheme but would be best in a power blocking scheme where he can just absolutely maul defenders. He's shown that he has the athletic ability to be used as a pull blocker and lead the way in the open field for his backs. He is a vicious blocker with the intent of dominating whoever decides to get in front of him and has shown a very good initial push with the ability to work to the 2nd level after double teams. He's a violent and powerful blocker in the run game.
Power at POA- In both pass protection and the run game the initial pop with his hands is fantastic. He's shown that he can knock defenders off their rush line with one-hand pops. His quickness off the ball allows him to dominate in the run game and drive defenders back. When in the open field he will often lead for runs or screens and can easily blow up 2nd and 3rd level defenders.
Anchor- As an edge blocker his size alone makes it difficult for defenders to bull rush him but he also anchors very well. He is an "angry" blocker who is very aggressive and plays with a little bit of nastiness to him. He shows a good job of bending at his knees and dropping his pad level but he does need to be more consistent with it. At 6'6 there are times where he can play too upright but it shouldn't be a big issue at the next level.
Versatility- Sewell is a lineman that protects like elite left tackles and runs blocks like elite guards. As he gets later into his career and his age gets up there he should have no problem bouncing inside to play guard and as far as scheme versatility goes he should have no problem in both zone or power schemes. He is a left tackle though and should play left tackle for a long time coming.
Athletic Ability/Size- This is the biggest thing that separates him from a lot of the other prospects. At 6'6, 325lbs he should not be able to move the way he does. He moves with ease in space and has the elite size to match it. He should be a staple of a franchise for the next 10-15 years and an elite prospect at protecting a franchise quarterback.
Sewell will be a top 5 pick in this upcoming draft and immediately take over as the blindside protector. The Bengals should do everything in their power to make sure that Penei Sewell is protecting the blind side of Joe Burrow for the upcoming future.