Enticing Falcons’ prospect Penei Sewell showcases rare athleticism during Oregon’s Pro Day

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Terry Fontenot has made it apparent that the Falcons will approach the draft with a best player available strategy through both words and actions. He’s signed a handful of veteran free agents — Mike DavisFabian Moreau, Erik Harris, Brandon CopelandBarkevious MingoJosh Andrews, and Jonathan Bullard — to shorter team-friendly deals as stopgaps that fill positions of need. I talked about the Falcons’ current depth chart, and the position with the most glaring need for bodies is safety, but the offensive line is not far behind.

First, we will explore the offense, which has most of the starting positions solidified but desperately needs depth. From left to right, the offensive line is comprised of Jake MatthewsMatt Gono, Matt Hennessy, Chris Lindstrom, and Kaleb McGary. This has to the starting combination as the only competition, thus far, on the offensive line is newly acquired depth-piece Josh Andrews, who surely projects as a camp body. Terry Fontenot will have to bring in more options on the offensive line, so don’t be surprised if multiple mid-to-late round picks are used on the big uglies up front.

Even though the Falcons took two offensive linemen in the 2019 NFL draft, nobody can complain about drafting someone like Penei Sewell. The “fit” argument is a stale one; drafting Sewell doesn’t mean the Falcons are moving around Jake Matthews or Kaleb McGary; the former Oregon Duck can start at left guard the moment he steps on the field, and eventually, Sewell can kick outside when it’s Matthews’ time to go.

He throttled the Oregon pro day, as many expected. Measuring 6’4” and 330-pounds, his wingspan was a hair over 33″, which is shorter than ideal for an NFL tackle, but it’s nothing new. Everyone knew he had shorter arms, but so did Joe Thomas, Joe Staley, and Jason Peters. He was absolutely electric and posted an extremely high RAS of 9.32 and measured in the upper percentile of nearly every statistic — eerily similar to Peters’ insane combine numbers. Only 12 guys have ever matched Sewell’s three-cone time at his size per @MathBomb.

Penei Sewell: 6047, 331 lbs., 33 1/4″ Arms, 5.09 40, 28″ Vert, 109″ Broad, 7.8 3C, 30 Reps

Jason Peters: 6050, 328 lbs., 33 1/8″ Arms, 4.93 40, 29″ Vert, 115″ Broad, 7.72 3C, 21 Reps

He is an elite run-blocker that uses his hips and power to create leverage that most young players couldn’t due to physical limitations, but the craziest thing about Sewell is he is only 20-years-old! He will start his first NFL game at 20-years-old, and to be this refined and well-rounded is rare. Opposed to someone like Rashawn Slater — the second-best tackle in this class to me — Sewell’s ultra-athletic body raises his ceiling exponentially.

There are obviously things he must clean up, specifically in pass protection. Still, all the nonsense about Sewell not being strong enough or physical enough to handle power rushers at the next level is exactly that… nonsense. Geoff Schwartz is a former NFL offensive lineman and a very good one who directly contradicts this narrative.

The Falcons brass will be in a tough situation come the end of April, with the likes of Penei Sewell, Kyle Pitts, Ja’Marr Chase, Justin Fields, and Trey Lance potentially left on the board at four. I’m glad it isn’t my job to decide this, but I would be overjoyed with any of the aforementioned prospects.

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