EUGENE, Ore. — Penei Sewell became the highest-drafted offensive lineman in Oregon football history on Thursday when the left tackle was taken seventh overall by the Detroit Lions in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft.
Sewell is the 19th player in program history and the third offensive lineman to be selected in the first round of the NFL Draft, joining Kyle Long (2013, No. 20) and Tim Drougas (1972, No. 22). He is the ninth top-10 pick ever to come out of Oregon, and fifth since 2013.
Oregon has now had a first-round pick in back-to-back years for the third time in program history, with quarterback Justin Herbert going sixth overall in the 2020 NFL Draft. This marks the second time (2015-16) the Ducks have had a top-10 pick in back-to-back drafts.
A generational talent.
— Oregon Football (@oregonfootball) April 30, 2021
No. 7 is the second-highest the Lions have ever drafted an offensive lineman. Only Lomas Brown, a seven-time Pro Bowler, was selected higher at No. 6 in 1985.
Sewell was dominant in two seasons protecting Herbert’s blind side before opting out of the 2020 season, and now will be charged with doing the same in Detroit for new quarterback Jared Goff. In 1,376 total snaps as a Duck, Sewell allowed just one sack.
A native of Malaeimi, American Samoa, Sewell finished 2019 as the top-graded offensive lineman in Pro Football Focus history at 95.5, becoming the first player in Oregon history and the first-ever sophomore offensive lineman to win the Outland Trophy as the nation’s top interior lineman. Sewell also led the nation with a PFF run-blocking grade of 95.3, and was third with a pass-blocking grade of 91.1.
Sewell joined LaMichael James (2010) and Marcus Mariota (2014) as the only unanimous first-team all-Americans in program history. He was named the 2019 Morris Trophy winner, AP Pac-12 co-offensive player of the year, and PFF Pac-12 player of the year after allowing no sacks and just seven quarterback pressures with a team-high 58 knockdowns in 926 snaps.
After coming to Oregon as the No. 1 prospect in the state of Utah, Sewell was the top freshman offensive lineman overall, the No. 2 offensive lineman in the Pac-12, and the No. 7 tackle in the nation with an 84.0 grade from PFF in 2018. He became the first offensive lineman in UO history to earn all-conference honors as a true freshman while also earning freshman all-America honors by USA Today and 247Sports.
— Detroit Lions (@Lions) April 30, 2021
Oregon First Round Picks
2021 – OT Penei Sewell, No. 7 (Detroit Lions)
2020 – QB Justin Herbert, No. 6 (Los Angeles Chargers)
2016 – DE DeForest Buckner, No. 7 (San Francisco 49ers)
2015 – QB Marcus Mariota, No. 2 (Tennessee Titans)
2015 – DT Arik Armstead, No. 15 (San Francisco 49ers)
2013 – OLB Dion Jordan, No. 3 (Miami Dolphins)
2013 – OG Kyle Long, No. 20 (Chicago Bears)
2008 – RB Jonathan Stewart, No. 13 (Carolina Panthers)
2006 – DT Haloti Ngata, No. 12 (Baltimore Ravens)
2002 – QB Joey Harrington, No. 3 (Detroit Lions)
1999 – QB Akili Smith, No. 3 (Cincinnati Bengals)
1996 – DB Alex Molden, No. 11 (New Orleans Saints)
1987 – QB Chris Miller, No. 13 (Atlanta Falcons)
1976 – DB Mario Clark, No. 18 (Buffalo Bills)
1975 – TE Russ Francis, No. 16 (New England Patriots)
1972 – WR Ahmad Rashad, No. 4 (St. Louis Cardinals)
1972 – OT Tim Drougas, No. 22 (Baltimore Colts)
1968 – DB Jim Smith, No. 12 (Washington)
1955 – QB George Shaw, No. 1 (Baltimore Colts)