Penei Sewell could be the New York Jets’ dream acquisition in the 2021 NFL Draft. Sam Crnic makes his Jet X debut with a film breakdown of the outstanding Oregon OT.
- Hometown: Malaeimi, American Samoa
- High School: Desert Hills (St. George, Utah)
- Position: OT
- School: Oregon
- Height: 6’6
- Weight: 331 lbs
- Games Watched on Tape: USC (11/2/19), Washington (10/19/19), Utah (12/6/19)
A heralded recruit from Desert Hills High School in St. George, Utah, Penei Sewell became the first true freshman to start the season opener on the offensive line for Oregon since 1997. He managed to keep that spot for the first six games before an ankle injury that kept him out for the rest of the 2018 regular season.
Despite only playing six games plus the 2018 RedBox Bowl, Sewell was named part of the 247Sports True Freshman All-American team. As a starter in 2019, his stellar play received extensive national attention, becoming one of the best OTs in the country. Sewell earned multiple awards, including the Outland Trophy, Morris Trophy, and Unanimous first-team All-American.
Entering 2020, Penei Sewell is indisputably the most talented OT in the country, who is already projected in the top 5 of the upcoming NFL Draft.
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Sewell (#58, left tackle) exhibits quality awareness by recognizing a zone pressure as the edge, 42, drops back into coverage. He displays great upper-body and hand strength as he effortlessly throws 96 into the dirt. After the interception, Sewell showcases his athleticism as well by laying down a nice tackle on 21.
The edge once again drops back into coverage, in which Sewell does a nice job in picking up 78. Sewell plants his feet into the ground, using them as an anchor to generate power against his man, rendering 78’s rush ineffective. On a consistent basis, Sewell utilizes perfect hand placement, which stalls the defender’s rush as shown here.
Sewell’s man picks up a sack here, but it’s actually a solid rep by Penei. The edge (96) drops into coverage, and Sewell turns his focus to 78, the DT looping outside. The DT comes in with far too much forward lean, so Sewell punishes him by chopping his arms down and pummeling him into the ground. Herbert carelessly drifts straight into the stumbling 78 for a sack, making Sewell look guilty. Sewell did his job, preventing his man from getting anywhere near Herbert’s designed set point.
While QB Justin Herbert (now of the Los Angeles Chargers) ends up scrambling down the middle for the TD, Sewell displays desired quickness off the ball, which paired with a sound punch, stalls his defender’s rush. This is a textbook pass set from the best tackle in College Football.
Just completely overpowers his man on this pass set. Outstanding latch strength, as Sewell uses his hands to stop his defender in his tracks. A great example of how dominant Sewell truly is in the passing game.
In the run game, Sewell displays relentless power in his drive, where he consistently creates holes for the ball carrier. On this play, Sewell doesn’t necessarily create a lane, but he still wins the rep overwhelmingly.
With another zone pressure, the left edge drops back into coverage, in which Sewell successfully switches to 51. For a sophomore in college, Penei’s eye discipline is noticeably advanced. His ability to pick up various stunts and pressures is rather impressive.
One of the few times you will see Sewell miss a block on the run here. Seems like there was a miscommunication as to who his man was, as he doesn’t commit to 10 until it’s too late. The Oregon offensive line is a well-orchestrated unit, so a rare error here.
Sewell explodes off the snap, creating space for the ball carrier while showcasing his immediate power upon contact. He uproots his opponents in order to create a gap.
Sewell gets beat on the edge with a spin move but regains control as Herbert scrambles to the left. Penei is athletic enough to shift his feet in response to the spin move and stay in front of his man. This is a lost rep by Sewell, but a strong recovery to mitigate the damage, an ability which often separates the elite linemen in the NFL.
Despite a total collapse of the pocket for Herbert, Sewell successfully maintains the left edge with great hand placement, winning his battle on an island with absolute ease. Picks up the stunt with perfection, yet again.
Sewell fails to maintain his block as Herbert slowly drifts out of the pocket. Penei is pushed on the balls of his feet from the bullrush, but he anchors down decently until he is eventually beaten by a rip. Herbert has enough time to find his man down the middle. An imperfect rep, but another example of Sewell’s raw physical tools helping him keep the damage to a minimum.
Sewell showcases his pure brute strength off the snap as he clears an open lane for the back. Noticing the linebacker (20) shooting through the play-side A-gap, Sewell pushes his own teammate (LG, 68) over to pick off 20, and then takes on the DT (52) that was initially blocked by 68 and uses 52’s momentum against him to create a running lane. Amazing play by Sewell.
A perfect example of Sewell’s impactful upper-body strength. Completely overpowers his man, forcing him to the ground. Excels with these knockdowns on a consistent basis.
Penei explodes out of his stance to stall the edge defender. He maintains balance throughout the set which is helped by desired knee bend. The edge attempts to beat Sewell with a rip move, which Penei counters with successful hand placement. He’s hardly ever beaten in pass sets due to his ability to rarely lunge or over-extend his arms.
Sewell packs a powerful punch and showcases phenomenal athleticism as he sprints inside to pick up the linebacker, creating plenty of knockback which clears a lane for the back. Another great example of how quick Penei is off the snap, as he reaches his defender with perfect timing.
Nearly flawless in the run game, as he consistently does a great job of pushing his man off the line of scrimmage. As a prospect, Sewell’s natural torque and power in the run game is second to none.
Sewell’s demeanor and toughness are also unmatched by many. Even after the back is wrapped up, Penei is relentless in his block, working his defender all the way to the right side of the field. As a combo blocker in the run game, the Oregon product is strikingly impressive.
Sewell does a perfect job of uprooting his defender to move him off the line of scrimmage and towards the inside. By doing this, he gives the back a clear lane to commit to. In addition, this is a great example of Penei’s hand strength and how he can maintain a block without grabbing the jersey to warrant holding penalties.
While Sewell clearly misses the block on this screen, it’s worth noting how visibly upset he was afterward. Even though it’s only one missed block, Penei expects greatness out of himself; a trait that teams love to see.
Sewell works with the TE on the combo block here. They pin the edge defender inside to establish an outside lane for the back. Sewell does a great job of flipping his hips to seal off the running lane.
Sewell lays down a nasty block on the screen pass, giving the ball carrier an open lane to the endzone. The 2019 Outland Trophy winner explodes off the snap with quickness, getting to his intended defender with exquisite timing. More tantalizing athleticism from Sewell and a well-executed play by the entire offense.
Another top-notch pass set executed by Sewell. Maintains balance, doesn’t over-extend, and readjusts his hand placement to seemingly always be one step ahead of the rusher. A constant force in pass protection.
Sewell works with the TE on the combo block once again which gives the back ample space to work with. Penei excels with zone blocking, effortlessly creating a lane despite any defender in his path.
One of the rare times you’ll see Penei get pushed off balance on a pass set, but he does a nice job of staying in control by quickly regaining balance and staying between the rusher and the quarterback. Despite the initial trouble, Sewell’s recovery allows Herbert to get his throw off with ease.
Sewell, the pulling blocker, bursts off the snap with rapid speed to make a popping block on the linebacker. This, paired with a good push off the line of scrimmage from the entire unit, gives the ball carrier a clear lane down the middle for a big gain. Offensive line coach Alex Mirabal ensures this unit maintains a desired toughness and smartness.
With the extra effort from Sewell to knock down the DB, he ensures a TD on the screen pass. Just another example of how truly athletic Penei is. At 6-foot-6 and 331 pounds, this is an absolutely phenomenal open-field play to see on film from the Unanimous First-Team All American tackle.
Sewell establishes a barrier between the defender and the desired lane for the back. He plants his feet into the ground to use as an anchor to further drive his man off the line scrimmage with torque. Penei is an integral part of almost every Oregon play design, and he usually executes his role to perfection.
Penei Sewell is nearly perfect in his craft. For a 19-year old (20 in October), he has the desired size, quickness, and natural strength for an OT. For how strong his upper body already is, he will only get better and stronger once he fills out his frame over time. Versatile to say the least, Sewell showcases on a consistent basis that he is one of the most athletic and dominant tackles in recent history.
In the passing game, Sewell explodes out of his stance, displaying quick feet as he moves up the arc into set points. He excels in always staying in front of his defender, as he rarely loses balance or over-extends. Despite the situation, Penei maintains ideal knee-bend throughout the pass set, and never stays upright despite his towering stature.
One of Sewell’s best features in pass protection is his phenomenal hand strength. His punch is sound and compact, while he relies on his grip strength to stall edge rushers and stop them in their path.
In addition, Penei’s hand placement and usage are second to none. Sewell rarely allows pocket cave-in, which is attributed to how he plants his feet into the ground, which he uses as an anchor for support.
When it comes to adjusting to or picking up stunts, Penei exhibits his football savvy and consistently takes the correct man. He’s quick to help other surrounding blockers, as multiple times on film you’ll see a nasty knockdown or two.
Regarding the run game, the All-American bursts off the snap with overwhelming power, commonly uprooting his defenders to create a clear and evident lane for the ball carrier. His athleticism is often showcased in the run game, as he unlocks his hips to create impressive knockback.
In addition, Penei consistently can flip his hips to create a solid barrier between any defender and the drawn-up lane. Sewell shows correct hand placement numerous times as he’s able to gain leverage on his man with ease. Because of this, Oregon often chose Sewell as the run lane anchor. His leg drive is relentless, which paired with his tremendous upper body strength creates striking movement off the line of scrimmage.
As much power as Sewell holds, his quickness is his best trait in the run game. On screen plays, Penei employs rapid movement off the snap to get in front of the ball carrier and is nearly always in a great position to execute the play. On second level blocks, Sewell is swift and efficient, in which he creates violent torque to knock his defender back. With combo blocks, Sewell regularly directs his power into the correct shoulder of the defender, which usually prompts a spacious lane.
It is tough to point out many flaws in Sewell’s game, as they are far and few in between. For his build, Sewell lacks a constant ‘nastiness’ that was well displayed in prospects like the Jets’ very own Mekhi Becton. This can be attributed to Sewell’s age, as he has much more mass to add to his frame in the coming years. With increased lower body strength, Penei can be even more dominant in the trenches, especially in the passing game.
There were a few plays in the film review where Sewell was beaten, but it is almost not even worth noting because of how rare those instances were. Even though his hand placement is nearly flawless, it wouldn’t hurt to keep improving his craft as he looks to prove himself as an elite prospect.
A consensus top-5 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, Penei Sewell draws comparisons to Jonathan Ogden as the next ‘generational prospect’ at OT. Only time will tell if this is the case, but on film thus far, Sewell exhibits strengths in almost every aspect of an OT’s job, with very few weaknesses worth mentioning.
Still only 19 years old, Sewell already looks like an NFL-ready tackle who would immediately upgrade any unit as a starter. Heading into 2020, barring an unforeseen injury, Penei Sewell is OT1 on every team’s big board, with a great chance he will only get better both in terms of his skill-set and physical traits.