Behind-the-scenes look at the Lions war room before Penei Sewell selection


Moments after the Detroit Lions took Penei Sewell with the seventh-overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Lions war room erupted in cheers.

General manager Brad Holmes hugged his head coach, Dan Campbell, and then slammed his hands on a table nearby in mere excitement. The Lions got their man, and they couldn’t have been more elated.

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But what many people didn’t see before Sewell’s name was called was the stillness of the Lions war room before his pick.

Detroit had tried to trade up to grab Sewell sooner, but with Miami on the clock at No. 6, there was definite worry on Holmes and Campbell’s minds. For two or three minutes, the Lions anxiously sat on the edge of their seats as the Dolpins got in their pick.  

“It was pretty tense,” Holmes said. “That’s what makes the draft fun.”

Ultimately, Miami took Jaylen Waddle with the sixth-overall selection, enabling the Lions to snag Sewell at No. 7 out of Oregon. Moments later, his emotional call was caught on video.


“We are fired up my friend,” Campbell said in his phone call with Sewell. “You are going to change the culture for us, man. We’re going to build this thing around guys like you. You come in and just like you’ve been playing, you come into compete and be just as nasty and dirty as you’ve been. You’re going to help us turn this thing around.

"We’re going to be winners, man. You’re the building block.”

The ceiling is high for the 2019 Outland Trophy Winner. Sewell will slide into the right tackle on a talented offensive line that includes veteran left tackle Taylor Decker and Pro Bowl center Frank Ragnow. The Lions have all the makings to be one of the NFL’s most formidable offensive lines with Sewell now in the fold.