2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report


Penei Sewell

December 5, 2020 1:00 PM EST


Penei Sewell Scouting Report picture

School: Oregon

Height: 6'6"

Weight: 330

Eligibility: JR

Uniform: #58

Position: OT


Evaluated by: Austin Smith
Smith.Austinj14@gmail.com
Twitter: NFLDraftAustin
December 5, 2020

Prospect Overview


2018: 7 GP
2019: 14 GP

Sewell has been one of the most touted offensive linemen in the country since arriving in Eugene as a four-star recruit out of Utah. As a true freshman, he stepped in as the Ducks' starting left tackle and instantly impressed with his play. His efforts that first year earned him a spot on multiple Freshman All-American lists, despite missing six games with a high-ankle sprain. His play also garnered him All-Conference honors, the first time an Oregon true freshman has done that on the offensive line.


Penei Sewell Scouting Report image 1

As a sophomore, he returned to join four seniors to comprise one of the nation's top offensive lines in college football. Sewell played in all 14 games of the season and was not credited with giving up a sack in 926 snaps. In fact, he's only been credited with giving up one sack in 1,376 collegiate snaps. Not only did his name appear on All-American lists across the country, but he was also voted the Morris (top offensive lineman in Pac-12) and Outland Trophy (top interior lineman in the country) winner. In addition, he was named the Top Polynesian College Football Player of the Year.

With Sewell paving the way, the Ducks rushed for just over 171 yards in each of his two seasons while also passing for 250 yards per contest over the last two seasons. His impact on the Oregon offense has been unheralded in both the run and passing game, and he is one of only three Ducks in school history to be named a unanimous All-American.

As a junior, the six-foot, six-inch, 330-pound offensive tackle opted out of the season due to the recent pandemic and began preparing for the 2021 NFL Draft.

Positives

Sewell has one of the more impressive combinations of size and mobility that we’ve seen in an offensive tackle prospect in recent years. He is a natural knee bender that rarely looks overmatched athletically against any opponent. As a run blocker, he does a terrific job with his hands shooting them inside and locking on. His hand placement is strategic based on his intent with the block, and he does an exceptional job when asked to reach or turn a defender. That all starts with his hand placement.


Penei Sewell Scouting Report image 2

His feet are exceptional in helping him get into position to make his block. They are active throughout the rep and allow him to play on balance most of the time. Oregon asked him to make blocks on the second level or the perimeter a lot, and his footwork and balance made him a capable player in that regard. In fact, his best fit may be in a scheme that takes advantage of his mobility. Whether it's a zone concept, a gap design that pulls their tackles, or a screen to the perimeter, Sewell is adept in those play designs.

He's not going to drive someone out of the screen, but he does have a desire to finish, which is a plus. Sewell doesn't let up until the whistle and shows a little nastiness in the process. It also shows up when he's executing a combo block before moving up to the second level.

In pass protection, he displays excellent patience. The combination of his size and quickness make him a tough player to get around him, and he times his punch accurately when it's time to engage. He shifts his weight well, making inside or hesitation moves difficult to execute against him, and Sewell trusts his feet as opposed to lunging when a pass rusher changes direction. Just like he does as a run blocker, he does a nice job of shooting his hands inside and locking on.

Sewell also shows some of that nastiness when he has no one rushing him. He looks inside to the guard and gives a shot to his man in an attempt to shut him down.

Areas for Improvement

The one area I think he needs to improve is his pad level. It’s not a constant issue, but there are reps where he pops up out of his stance or initiates contact too high. Most collegiate defenders aren't strong enough to make Sewell pay for this, but that won't be the case in the NFL. It shows up more often in pass protection, and when it does, his footwork can get a little clunky. In return, his balance can suffer for this as well.

Sewell can also have some issues identifying blitzes. There were several instances over his sophomore year where he could have come off a double team or passed on a defender to a teammate so he can get out to another. As the season went along, we saw him improve in this area, which needs to continue. NFL defenses get very creative with how they send pressure, and his awareness needs to constantly be up to par.

I would also like him to get a bit stronger and clean up his frame. Sewell is not a sloppy player, nor does he have issues with his strength, but there is room for improvement.


Penei Sewell Scouting Report image 3

Draft Stock

As I said, his combination of size and mobility is rare, and teams are always looking for improvement in protection. Last year, the top four tackles that went in the first half of the first round were physical maulers, but each had room to improve in pass protection. Sewell should step right in and be able to have success as both a pass and run blocker. However, there is some concern with his arm length. It’s going to be average at best, and we have seen that doom player at the next level.

Guys like Jake Matthews and Jonah Williams have struggled to live up to their skill level because of arms that measure on the shorter side. Not only could this concern drop Sewell's stock, but it could even prompt talks of him moving inside. Still, few offensive linemen in recent memory have walked into college football and had the kind of instant success that Sewell did. He's a top-10 talent that could be the best non-quarterback prospect in this class, and he's had since September to prepare for the upcoming draft.

There are no concerns with his character, nor his work ethic or longevity. A high ankle sprain sidelined him as a freshman, but there are no long-term concerns with his health. Sewell showed poise as a day-one starter at Oregon, which should transfer over as a professional.


Penei Sewell Scouting Report image 4

Player Comparison

I’ve seen several people mention his name with Taylor Lewan, and physically, it makes sense. Lewan was a bit stronger than Sewell, albeit a bit leaner coming out of Michigan, yet also had slightly below-average arm length. There was a nastiness to finish that he carried over to the field in Tennessee, and that should be the case for Sewell as well. I think Sewell looks more athletic on tape than Lewan did coming out of Michigan, but he tested very well in Indianapolis.

However, Sewell is entering the NFL at a younger age, and his upside could surpass that of the three-time Pro Bowler. I expect his workout numbers to be very impressive base on the way we see him move on tape.

Games Evaluated

  • vs. Auburn (8-31-19)
  • vs. California (10-5-19)
  • at Washington (10-19-19)
  • vs. Oregon State (11-30-19)
  • vs. Utah (12-6-19)

Notes from Film

  • The first thing that I notice about him is that athleticism is the source of his success, not power. Last year, the top tackles (Andrew Thomas, Jedrick Wills, Tristan Wirfs, Mekhi Becton) were all maulers, but that is neither Sewell or Oregon's style. He's a player that uses his terrific athleticism to get into position, and with his terrific size, it’s tough to go through him.
  • Has to be a little more consistent with his pad level. It's usually pretty good, but when he gets too high, he doesn't have the power to hold his ground. Auburn's Nick Coe walked him back a few times because he got under him.
  • Just like his pad level, there are occasional instances of his balance getting too far to one side. It's such a tough task of keeping your balance centered as an offensive lineman, and there are times when he lets his steps get too heavy, shifting too much weight to that side. As a player that is going to be more of a positional blocker than a mauler that drives people backward, his balance has to always be centered. This got better as the season went on.
  • Big miss in the third quarter against Auburn. He and the guard double teamed the five technique, and a linebacker came on a delayed blitz to the outside of Sewell. I'm sure he expected the running back to pick it up, but slot corner was also coming from that side, which gave the linebacker a free run to make the play. If I'm Sewell and I know that double team has stopped the end in his tracks, I'm peeling off to take on the linebacker, even if it's the back’s responsibility. An end standing in place is a lot easier to take on for a guard than a linebacker running full speed for a running back. In this case, Sewell never saw the slot come, which was not delayed, and he never worried about the linebacker who made the play. I'd like to see better awareness and decision making.
  • Love his patience in pass protection. We very seldom see him lunge at a defender. He is calm, and rarely panics. He trusts his athletic ability to be enough if a guy tries to speed rush him, which it almost always is. This allows him to be patient with his punch.
  • Does a terrific job selling his block on screens before bursting upfield to get into position to block for the receiver. He is also such a good open field blocker, thanks to his ability to accelerate and take good angles.
  • Another example against Washington where the awareness could be better to pick up the blitz. I did, however, notice that this got better through the season.
  • Just because he's not a mauler doesn't mean he doesn't play strong or have the desire to finish. When he gets a linebacker, defensive back or undersized edge rusher, you can see his nastiness come out a bit. While I think some added strength will do him good, he's well ahead of where Andre Dillard was two years ago. I'll say this, his strength came into question most against Auburn, which had one of the best and most physical defensive lines in the country.
  • For teams that like to pull their tackles on toss sweeps or counter treys, as well as teams that love to run screens to the perimeter, Sewell is going to be highly coveted. He can really accelerate to get to the perimeter or across the formation. Outstanding ability to get out to perimeter in a hurry on touchdown right before halftime against Washington.
  • I do have some questions about his arm length and it sounds like I'm not the only one. However, you notice that he goes through spells where he is just shoving as opposed to locking on and driving. The instances where I see him consistently lock on is on the second level against smaller players. That may be something that spurs some conversation about him moving to guard. The movement is outstanding to play on the edge but arm length can be something that dictates a move inside.
  • Although I've got questions about his arm length, his hand placement is usually spot on. On reach blocks where he tries to turn an edge player to allow the runner to have a free path to the perimeter, he really does show outstanding hand placement and movement to get his man hooked.
  • If a scout really wants to get an idea of how easily he can transition his weight, watch him make a man miss when they threw a screen to him against Utah in the Conference Championship Game. The tackle he made on the interception against USC was pretty impressive as well.


Scouting Video Courtesy of LupDaLup Sports




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