Oregon Ducks

Detroit Lions GM Brad Holmes has long been a fan of Penei Sewell

Oregon Ducks

Penei Sewell was the most sought-after lineman in the 2021 NFL Draft. 

The former Oregon Duck was the winner of the Outland and Morris Trophy in 2019 and sat out 2020 to focus on the draft.

When draft night rolled around the Detroit Lions used the No.7 pick to bring Sewell to Michigan. 

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Sewell had been a hot commodity for some time, and the powers that be in Detroit had long had their eyes on him.

General Manager Brad Holmes had his sights set on the Oregon product for years.

From 2013-2020, Holmes was the director of college scouting for the St.Louis/Los Angeles Rams. It was in LA that Holmes had a conversation with west coast scout Vito Gonella and first remembers hearing about Sewell.

"[Gonella] had already (evaluated) him from the 2019 season and he was talking like, 'Man, this Oregon tackle is the real deal,'" Holmes said in an interview with detroitlions.com. "Over the summer he was like, 'This guy is the best guy." He couldn't stop raving about him. It was like, 'you're kind of overselling this guy.'"

When I finally got a chance to look at (Sewell) that summer heading into the 2020 season, I was like, 'wow, Vito was right.

Brad Holmes

Holmes had Sewell on top of his list and when he found his name still on the board when pick No.7 rolled around, the Lions had no choice but to pull the trigger. 


"We just couldn't be any more excited than we are about Penei. Going through the process, we truly, we got to a point where we pretty much identified three players and he was one of those three that we would just be extremely, let's just say through the roof about," Holmes said after the draft. "To be able to land him, he's going to be an integral and impactful piece to our franchise going forward for years to come. He's going to be a great addition to our offensive line. He's just a transcendent talent. I can't quite remember a guy that had feet like him in a long time, but it's not just the athletic ability. He's got the toughness, he's got the grit, he's got the strength. He's got the intangibles that we're looking for."

Sewell may be a rookie, but he stands to be a huge part of the Lions offensive line this season, and many more to come.