Lions G.M. Brad Holmes downplays first-round pick Penei Sewell’s rough preseason

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One of the most consistent observations from Lions preseason games was that rookie right tackle Penei Sewell did not play well. Sewell was consistently beaten by pass rushers and did not look ready to be an NFL starter.

But Lions General Manager Brad Holmes, who selected Sewell with the seventh overall pick, says Sewell will be just fine as the Lions’ starter when they take the field in Week One against the 49ers.

“I believe that he will be ready for Week 1 and I think he’s ready now,” Holmes said, via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “Yeah, I mean, he’s going through the normal process that a rookie would go through, regardless of where he’s drafted. That’s a tough position to play out there on that island and he’s sat out for a year. So what he’s done, and I know it’s magnified by what may be a hiccup here or there, but there’s so much of the good stuff that maybe kind of hidden when you really kind of deep dive the film, little subtle nuances that is going to make a big difference.”

Sewell is only 20 years old and only played a season and a half of college football: He was injured for half of his freshman year in 2018, won the Outland Trophy as the best lineman in college football in 2019, then opted out in 2020 before declaring for the draft in 2021. So he clearly is not a finished product and has a lot of room to improve. But if the Lions are going to put him in the starting lineup from the start of his rookie year, they need him to look a lot better in the regular season than he looked in the preseason.

63 responses to “Lions G.M. Brad Holmes downplays first-round pick Penei Sewell’s rough preseason

  1. I’m sure he can develop into a serviceable lineman, but shouldn’t have been a 1st rd pick.

  2. No worries, he is not near the epic failure pick that Rick Spielman made taking Christian Darrisaw in the first round.

    Penei Sewell will be fine.

  3. He was probably the closest thing to a can’t miss draft prospect this year and Detroit is still screwing it up. Lions gonna Lions.

  4. He has all the tools but I wonder if he really wants this. His heart just doesn’t seem to be in football.

  5. It’s an asute observation on his part. We haven’t seen much of anything this year from the team. Most of the starters have played very little and many haven’t played at all.

    We’ll know soon enough if they’re as awful as everyone is predicting but I like their keep it in the vault approach thus far.

  6. Way too early to panic, but I’d start to feel nervous that we missed on the pick if this was my team. Every year there is a some guy that goes in the top 10 who 3 years out was a bust. You pray it’s not your team.

  7. What the Lions should do next year is opposite of whatever it is they are thinking of doing.

  8. bmacwillconn says:
    September 3, 2021 at 7:12 am
    He has all the tools but I wonder if he really wants this. His heart just doesn’t seem to be in football.
    ———————————————————————————————-
    Watched two games he played in and although he wasn’t great he was consistently aggressive , physical and at times downright mean , lol . Don’t think you need to worry about his heart not being in football

  9. Reminds me of Sua(Suzy) Cravens…just doesn’t love the game…anyone who opts outta doing something they love…? yeah right…both him and WR Jabar Chase from Cincy…

  10. There is more scurtiny because of the hype.
    Oline takes growing into.
    Lets see how he is doing by the end of the year.
    If he develops into a good Olineman in 2022 then the pick was fine.

  11. No explanation necessary. The kid will be fine. This is the same guy all the know-it-all’s were saying should have been drafted sooner. There’s a lot of change going on in Detroit. Everyone is getting acclimated. The coaches. The veterans. And the rookies. The owners decided to tear it down and start over. Not just a little tweak here and there. Gonna require a little patience, but continuing to lose just got old. They’re going to try something else. Good for them. The lovable loser thing got old.

  12. Yep makes perfect sense. He stunk for 40 days but when the real whistle blows he’ll be great against the best D Line in the league

  13. bmacwillconn says:
    September 3, 2021 at 7:12 am
    He has all the tools but I wonder if he really wants this. His heart just doesn’t seem to be in football.

    By what metric do you come to the decision that this 20 year old rookie’s heart doesn’t seem to be in football? Do you know the young man? He’s a 20 year old kid who probably has a long and distinguished career in front of him but you will call him heartless because he struggled in preseason after missing an entire year due to a pandemic? That’s a bit harsh and certainly premature, don’t ya think?

  14. That’s one position that you either look the part or don’t. I don’t remember too many first round late bloomer offensive linemen.

  15. Looks clumsy for the spot in the NFL.Could end up a guard after he gets the QB crushed over and over.

  16. I can recall when my team passed up Barry Sanders for The Incredible Steroid Bulk. That was embarrassing. Still is, frankly. But, I’m sure this guy will turn out fine. Be careful using terms such as “can’t miss prospect”. Seen that before!

  17. The guy sits out last season, and then changes positions on top of it, and people are shocked he had a bad start? News flash, all the top players that sat out last year are struggling. Give him at least half a season before we start writing him off.

  18. If he can’t block in the pre-season, he won’t be able to block during the regular season. At the pick, no matter the position, either you have or you don’t. Jason Smith, the big tackle out of Bayor who the Rams took with the 2nd pick in the draft in 09, had the same problems in the pre-season. How did that workout?

  19. Its absolutely concerning reading some of these takes above. Guess people have no idea how hard it is to switch from LT to RT while also doing it after not playing for almost 2 years. Seriously saying he is a bust LOL or my personal favorite “He is way to slow to play tackle and should be a guard” which is just completely ignoring the fact he is one of the fastest OT’s in the NFL🤦‍♂️

  20. Scouts can’t just buy Mel Kiper’s Draft book, watch highlights and head off to the bar.
    That stuff is great if you’re a Draftnik, but if you’re an NFL Scout or GM you need to know how to evaluate players and extrapolate their skill sets to the Pro level.

  21. on the flip-side of this, in Cincinnati, Ja’Marr Chase has looked like he couldn’t catch a cold while Burrow continues to get knocked around. This leaves the fanbase giving even more of a side-eye to the selection of Chase over Sewell.

    Then again, it is Cincinnati, so what do you expect?

  22. Put him at guard to start his career.

    Jonathan Ogden started his the same – a 4th overall pick.

    He is now in Canton

  23. News flash, all the top players that sat out last year are struggling. Give him at least half a season before we start writing him off”

    You’re wrong many have done well!! This guy is average at best and should be move inside.

  24. theconfluence says:
    The Lions can never catch a break.
    ==

    Winning franchises don’t perpetually wait to “catch” breaks. They go out with a purpose and make their own.

  25. Shocked. He opted out, didn’t play and now he’s struggling. He’ll need a season to get back to where his potential can take him. Give him time before throwing in the Bust tag. If they wanted someone to come in and take the reigns over right away they should’ve traded down and picked Leatherwood.

  26. “The owners decided to tear it down and start over.”
    __________

    Not much choice after Matt Patricia burned everything to the ground. It takes a special talent to inherit a team that had went 9-7 two years in-a-row and within 2 seasons have them only win 3 games.

  27. The one constant in the NFL is 1st round draft picks have a 50% bust rate, most are drafted because of their physical abilities, often overlooking football smarts, that make them look great against inferior talent in college. Once they have to play against like talent they are quickly exposed for lacking football talent and they quickly end up out of the league.

  28. I believe that this kid has all the tools and the right mental attitude to put it all together and be a great lineman. It’s the preseason. He missed an entire season. Hell get his legs eventually.

  29. Maybe put him at the position he’s played his entire life LT. I never get teams drafting guys in the top of the draft and moving them from their natural position. So you’re an amazing CB, well we’re gonna put you at safety….O your a LT – well we will move you to RT….and they wonder why it doesn’t work. Some team will get him in 3 years and move him to LT and he’ll be an all pro. Don’t draft a guy and move him.

  30. Overreact much?

    In the first Preseason game Sewel was credited as giving up a sack that was probably more Viati’s fault than his, the rest of the game while he was in was great. He was credit with giving up a few pressures in the remaining games. What do people expect when a player hasnt played in a football game in a year and a half? We’ll see how it turns out.

  31. Leatherwood wasn’t so much labeled a reach as much as he most likely would have been available in later rounds.

  32. Maybe put him at the position he’s played his entire life LT. I never get teams drafting guys in the top of the draft and moving them from their natural position. So you’re an amazing CB, well we’re gonna put you at safety….O your a LT – well we will move you to RT….and they wonder why it doesn’t work. Some team will get him in 3 years and move him to LT and he’ll be an all pro. Don’t draft a guy and move him.

    ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….Packers mode of operation. We draft guys who can move around a lot and pass up very good football players like JJ Watt who only play one position. No value there.

  33. We gonna ignore the fact that this kid is a rookie, hasn’t played in over a year, and is learning a new position? Like dang, can the kid not get some time to develop?

  34. So, the verdict is in after 3 preseason games.

    When some of the rookie QB’s struggle, which they will, are all of you pessimists going to put a fork in them?

  35. He’s been a mixed bag in preseason, some great plays and some poor blocks. I keep wondering if a few years from now Lions fans will be talking about passing on Justin Fields.

  36. But wait…everyone here said he was the sure thing the Bengals should have picked up because Chase is having issues IN PRESEASON. Because of course preseason is everything and as always there’s only two choices for everything. 🤦🏾

  37. 🗣️ Penei Sewell isn’t a bust they switched him to the opposite side that he’s use to playing so he gotta adjust. Hate people not knowing what they’re talking about. 😡

  38. I’m sure he will eventually grow into the role, but in a week or so. He’s going to have to block Bosa or Ford. So he may have a rough week

  39. Leatherwood wasn’t so much labeled a reach as much as he most likely would have been available in later rounds.

    ———————————————————————————————–
    That’s pretty much the definition of reach.

  40. Well let’s see…. Didn’t play last year, didn’t face a lot of top competition in college, has short arms for the position….

  41. The PAC 12 just isn’t a very good football conference so quit drafting players from there high in the draft.

  42. arcross12042004scorp15 says:
    September 3, 2021 at 9:40 am
    Scouts can’t just buy Mel Kiper’s Draft book, watch highlights and head off to the bar.
    That stuff is great if you’re a Draftnik, but if you’re an NFL Scout or GM you need to know how to evaluate players and extrapolate their skill sets to the Pro level.
    ***********************************************************
    You get it and you’re 100% correct. Brad Holmes was a very good scout. Some GM’s are lawyers. Some have a background in business. Some in coaching. Some in personnel. And some are just good talkers, who were able to convince an owner, who knows nothing about football, to hire him. I am not a Lions’ fan, but the Detroit Lions are one of those NFL franchises that you just want to see do something. They’ve never won a super bowl. When they hired Brad Holmes, I was so happy that the Lions finally have a shot. It’s not going to happen overnight, and the very first pick from a new regime could have been made above Holmes’ head. But I have faith in the Lions’ future. Brad Holmes understands scouting the way you do, and I expect them to start filling their roster with solid players. The kind of players you get from grinding film for hours and hours.

  43. This is why the Lions have been rebuilding since 1957.
    Go back in draft history. The Lions have had more 1st and 2nd round busts than most teams. The Ford family should sell the team to someone that understands how to hire GM’s and Coaches that will be effective.

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