2021 NFL Draft rankings: Penei Sewell leads strong offensive tackle group

2021 NFL Draft prospect Penei Sewell #58 of the Oregon Ducks (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
2021 NFL Draft prospect Penei Sewell #58 of the Oregon Ducks (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /
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Penei Sewell, 2021 NFL Draft
2021 NFL Draft prospect Penei Sewell #58 of the Oregon Ducks (Photo by Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports) /

After looking at the top tight ends in the 2021 NFL Draft last week, let’s take a look at this impressive group of offensive tackles. This is a very strong group, with 12 offensive tackles receiving at least a third-round grade. The group is led by one of the top offensive tackles to come out in years in Penei Sewell, and also has some sleepers like Alaric Jackson and Spencer Brown.

1. Penei Sewell, Oregon
6-foot-6, 325 pounds
2021 NFL Draft grade: First round

Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell was dominant during his two years of college football. In 2019, he became the first sophomore to win the Outland Trophy. He also received the highest grade any offensive tackle has received in the history of Pro Football Focus with a grade of 95.5. As a freshman in 2018, he was named to the USA Today Freshman All-America team. Even though Sewell decided to sit out the 2020 season, this is enough of a resume to earn him a high first-round draft grade.

In terms of what traits stand out with Sewell, the first one is his mobility and overall athletic ability. In the running game, he has the ability to reach the second level easily. This trait helps in the passing game as well as he has the quick feet to keep up with the best speed rushers he will see in the NFL. He also does a great job of being a lead blocker on screens, which Oregon ran a lot of. His athletic ability also was one of the reasons Sewell was rarely caught off balance.

About the only weakness with Sewell’s game, and it’s not even much of a weakness, is that he doesn’t always display elite strength in the run game. While he definitely has the strength to be a good run blocker, he sometimes plays with a higher pad level than we would like to see, which causes him to get less push than if he came out of his stance lower.

Sewell is the top offensive tackle prospect in this class and has All-Pro upside left tackle upside at the next level. He is a likely top-five pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, with the Cincinnati Bengals at No. 5 looking like a strong landing spot.