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College Football: Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell is one of the best tackle prospects we have ever seen

Apr 20, 2019; Eugene, OR, USA; Oregon Ducks offensive lineman Penei Sewell (58) points the scoreboard after the Oregon spring game at Autzen Stadium. Mighty Oregon beat Fighting Ducks 20-13. Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

We’re two weeks into the post-draft life that is the 2020 offseason. With the schedule release being the next event on the NFL calendar, I want to look way ahead again to the 2021 draft.

I already did this on a broad scale last week by looking at some players the analytics liked, but Mike Renner has also already produced a 2021 mock draft, and our 2021 NFL draft simulator is able to give you a taste of what the first two rounds of the 2021 draft could look like for your favorite team.

In today’s article, I want to look at the trenches. Last month we saw seven offensive linemen go in Round 1, including six offensive tackles. And Penei Sewell of Oregon might very well be better than all of them.

Here is a look at Sewell using our college-to-pro projection system, which is powered by the machine learning capabilities of AWS.

[Editor's Note: Check out PFF's 2021 Mock Draft Simulator as well as 2020 NFL Draft grades for all 32 teams. And if you haven’t already, be sure to pick up a copy of PFF’s 2020 NFL Draft Guide by subscribing to PFF EDGE or ELITE.]

How Sewell Projects as a Pass-Protector

This, while being the weaker part of Sewell’s game, is still pretty excellent. When looking at a pass-protector at the college level, we apply some of the principles of the “true pass sets” work I published here, adding in a little more context with respect to whom a player played against and when he played against him. When adjusting for situation, Sewell won his pass-blocking reps at a rate of 3.4 percentage points higher than the average college football player and surrendered pressure at a rate 2.8 percentage points lower. 

His comps in the context-free environment in pass protection are players like David Bakhtiari, Jack Conklin, Cordy Glenn, Tyron Smith, Trent Brown and Trent Williams.

Projected pass-blocking win rate and pressure rate allowed for Penei Sewell in the context-free environment. Vertical, dashed lines are the league medians for tackles in their first five NFL seasons.

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