Penei Sewell stepped into the starting left tackle spot at Oregon at just 17 years old—and he dominated.
Over the next two years, Sewell would start 20 games and rack up several awards including Freshman All-American, Unanimous All-American, and winning the 2019 Outland trophy award as the best FBS lineman. His 95.8 PFF Grade in 2019 was the highest of any offensive player in college football that season and the highest ever by an offensive lineman. Sewell opted out of 2020.
Now, just 20 years old, Sewell was selected by the Detroit Lions for another starting role, likely at right tackle.
At 6-foot-5, 331 pounds, Sewell is an elite athlete who plays with superior bend and superb feet. His combination of aggressiveness and mirroring technique allows him to swallow defenders in both the pass and run game. And while all the physical traits are there to make Sewell an immediate starter with All-Pro upside, his mental processing may be his best trait. Sewell understands pass rushing angles and has the agility to get to his spot before the defender.
With Lions’ Taylor Decker coming off his best season as a pro and just signing a contract extension, he appears locked into the left tackle spot, meaning Sewell is likely pegged for the right tackle spot. While he only played left tackle at Oregon, Sewell is familiar with playing right tackle after spending most of his time there in high school. Sewell also made a point of training at right tackle ahead of his pro day—which Lions offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn attended—to show teams what he was capable of.
So, for now, the Lions offensive line appears to be:
- LT — Taylor Decker (signed through 2024)
- LG — Jonah Jackson (2023)
- C — Frank Ragnow (2022)
- RG — Hal Vaitai (2024)
- RT — Penei Sewell (2025)
Tyrell Crosby (signed through 2021) will likely switch back to an all-important swing tackle role, which he played his first two seasons in the NFL and was relied on to start on seven occasions.
Lions quarterback Jared Goff needs three things in order to be successful. An offensive line that can keep buy him time in the passing game, a solid running game, and wide receivers who can separate.
Sewell just helped the Lions upgrade those first two requirements.