The 2021 NFL Draft is generating unprecedented anticipation. Littered throughout mock drafts, franchises have opportunities to secure a possible franchise quarterback, as up to four signal callers are being slated to be taken in the first round. Some organizations desperately need Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence or Ohio State’s Justin Fields.
But a quarterback can only shine with the right amount of protection. To build an offensive line takes proper scouting and more importantly, time. This draft contains an immense amount of potential on the offensive line, and leading the way is former Oregon Ducks star Penei Sewell.
This 6-foot-6, 330-pounder played 21 games for the Ducks, can play guard or tackle, and has shown athletic prowess that can make him a key component to any team’s rushing offense. During his 2019 season with the Ducks, Sewell won the Outland Trophy, which recognizes the top offensive lineman in the country. He has the balance and ability to battle the league’s top pass rushers.
Where might Sewell go in the draft? Let’s break it down.
First off, at the second pick the New York Jets can grab Sewell. Jets quarterback Sam Darnold spends an alarming amount of time throwing outside of the pocket as protection breaks down. The Jets did draft Mekhi Becton last year, but obviously one man can’t revitalize their offensive line.
If not New York, Sewell can be a great addition to teams including the Dolphins (fourth pick), Giants (11th) or even for the Bengals at the fifth pick to protect their franchise signal caller Joe Burrow, who tore up his ACL this season during his rookie year.
For most fans, there is more appeal drafting a prolific quarterback, a physical wide receiver and the dangerous linebacker who can play all parts of the field. Getting an offensive linemen high in the draft just isn’t satisfying enough to turn the fate of a franchise. But assembling a strong offensive line is a key to protecting a quarterback and opening up holes for running backs.
Tom Brady wouldn’t have looked as good during his years in New England if it wasn’t for the likes of linemen Matt Light and Nate Solder. Aaron Rodgers helped lead the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl 45 with Bryan Bulaga and Chad Clifton protecting him. The proof is there — to be successful a team needs a quality offensive line. And Sewell’s versatility ensures he can immediately make an impact on any team.
When April 29 rolls around, the first day of the draft, Duck fans will get to see one of their own get ready to make his mark in the National Football League. Though it is tempting to go for any of these quarterbacks, wide receivers or defensive stars, the team that goes after Sewell will receive a high draft grade, and a player who is destined to have a lengthy career on the line.