The team from the Motor City is starting over once again at general manager and head coach. But the Detroit Lions’ first-round pick had a familiar feel to it.
It’s a franchise at once again finds itself drafting very high. The Detroit Lions come off a miserable season which resulted in a third consecutive finish in the basement of the NFC North. The head coach and general manager that began 2020 did make it through the season.
Now the club heads into another year with a new regime in terms of who’s running the team (GM Brad Holmes), who’s patrolling the sidelines (head coach Dan Campbell) and a staff loaded with on-the-field experience (see Justin Rogers of the Detroit News).
For the fifth time in 10 years, the franchise has opted to address the offensive line in the first round. Oregon tackle Penei Sewell is headed to Motown, the third time the Lions have opted for an offensive tackle in the first round. In 2012 it was Iowa’s Riley Reiff and four years later in was Ohio State’s Taylor Decker. Along the way, there’s been guard Laken Tomlinson (2016) and center Frank Ragnow (2018).
Grading the Detroit Lions pick of Penei Sewell at No. 7 in the 2021 NFL Draft
Sewell did opt out of the 2020 collegiate season but made his mark before then. Now he becomes the first offensive lineman off the board in 2021. There is plenty of upside but understandably, not quite the finished product. NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein offers this.
"“His flashes are exceptional, and his ceiling is substantial. However, questions about play strength and maturity due to his age/inexperience create a little more uncertainty than we usually see with high-end tackle prospects.”"
There’s not only new leadership in town but a new quarterback in Jared Goff. Sewell will have the luxury of learning from Decker and picking up some pointers from Ragnow. The Lions were 30th in the league in rushing in 2020 and allowed 42 sacks. It’s an addition that should pay off handsomely.