Penei Sewell Offer Blunt Assessment of Rookie Year: ‘Not Good Enough’

Penei Sewell

Getty Penei Sewell looks on during a Lions preseason game in 2021.

It’s tough to imagine a draft pick going better for a team than the Detroit Lions with offensive tackle Penei Sewell. The offensive lineman started two different positions this year up front and didn’t look out of place at either spot. As a result, it could be easy to see the player as a stud.

Sewell himself may not be a direct believer in any of that, though. Even though most understand that Sewell had a great season, he wasn’t wasting time giving himself a good review for 2021. As he explained, there are still plenty of things that he wants to do better in order to improve, and steps he wants to take during the offseason to get even better.

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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.

Brad Holmes Confident in Sewell’s Improvement

Even though Sewell himself might not be happy with how the season went, the Lions brass seems to be very pleased with Sewell. General manager Brad Holmes, who made the decision to nab Sewell last year with a top pick in the draft, didn’t seem to disappointed in what the rookie was able to do and knows that the arrow is still pointed firmly upward for the youngster.

“You talk about first-round, Penei, yes, he is what we thought he was going to be. And Penei is only going to get better,” Holmes explained to the media. “For what he was able to do, being a left tackle in college and opting out and coming in as a right tackle, then (Taylor) Decker goes out and he goes to left and Decker comes back and he goes back to right. Him and Kyle Pitts were the youngest guys in the draft. So he’s only going to get better.”

The fact Sewell was able to juggle an uncommon season very well was impressive, which proves Holmes’ point about how he could still be expected to improve and get even better into the future.

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 decent start by anyone else’s calculations.

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