Penei Sewell Makes History With 2021 PFF Run Blocking Grade

Penei Sewell

Getty Penei Sewell before a Lions game against Seattle in 2022.

The Detroit Lions have a player they hope is elite for the future in offensive tackle Penei Sewell, and the numbers continue to prove why the team should have so much hope for the future regarding the play of their tackle.

Sewell was solid this past year in many ways, and the team appears to have a cornerstone player for their future up front given the eye test and other key variables. Perhaps the way Sewell is most impressive, though, is when it comes to run blocking which was proven with a new stat.

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According to Pro Football Focus, Sewell had a 85.1 run blocking grade for his work in the 2021 season. As the site said, it was the highest mark in run blocking for a rookie offensive tackle since 2009.

It’s been a big goal of the Lions to run the ball better, and with Sewell, it seems they have finally found a player that is going to give them that upside for the future. The hope is for the Lions to be able to grind wins out and dominate up front. They showed signs of doing that in 2021 at times, and if they can sustain it for the future, a big reason will have to be Sewell and the work of the offensive line.

Sewell Not Satisfied With Solid Season

Speaking with the media in an interview posted to, Sewell was very quick to admit that his rookie season wasn’t good enough in his opinion for a multitude of reasons. Specifically, Sewell admitted he still has a ways to go before he feels comfortable in the league.

“Not good enough. At all. There was a couple games where I kind of struggled but man, I had to go through it,” Sewell told the media. “Coach Campbell said it will just help me grow as an individual, as a player, and everything with that so looking forward to next year. That’s all.”

In terms of what he wants to improve, Sewell had a fast answer and didn’t hesitate. He wants to get better in terms of his pass protection.

“Definitely my pass game a lot more. I want to be more fluid (and) more consistent out there. So those are the things that I will be working on the most,” Sewell explained.

Listening to Sewell, it’s no wonder people expect him to become great. The rookie speaks like a veteran already and is not willing to rest on his laurels whatsoever. That’s important for the future, and proves how good Sewell might really become in due time.

Recapping Sewell’s Rookie Season

To say that the 2021-22 season was a strong start for Sewell is more than a bit of an understatement. The offensive tackle excelled no matter where he was playing, and managed to catch the eye of sites like Pro Football Focus multiple times. Sewell was one of the top-graded tackles in the league as a rookie, and routinely opened eyes for his ability to keep whomever was playing quarterback for the Lions upright as well as helping the running game succeed. Sewell did not crack the Pro Bowl for his rookie work, but the fact he was stable on the field should be enough of a plus for the Lions moving forward. As a whole, Sewell started 16 total games for the Lions and was a mainstay up front for the team. Perhaps the signature moment for Sewell is when he refused to back down from Aaron Donald in a game:

Though he seemed unhappy with the results, the Lions should be happy with what Sewell accomplished and also love the fact that the rookie is hungry to keep building upon what figures to be a very good start by anyone else’s calculations.

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