Penei Sewell was a force to be reckoned with at the University of Oregon.
Patrolling the left side of the offensive line in Eugene, Sewell built quite the resume leading to him being drafted No. 7 overall by the Detroit Lions back in April.
Shortly after being drafted, the Lions shifted the 20-year old to right tackle, a transition that proved challenging.
"It’s like, let’s say I’m right-handed so I’ve been writing right-handed my whole life, and then one day you’re just asked to write your full name left-handed at full speed, the same speed that you write with your right hand. So yeah, it's a little bit of an adjustment," Sewell said back in May.
Flash forward to the week leading into game 1 against the San Francisco 49ers. After spending all offseason and training camp adjusting to the right side, starting right tackle and six-year veteran Taylor Decker went down with a finger injury, forcing him to injured reserve.
The unfortunate turn of events meant that Sewell was back on the left side for his first NFL game.
Lined up against one of the best young pass rushers in the game in Nick Bosa, the rookie held his own in the 41-33 loss to the 49ers.
Bosa was held to just 4 tackles, 1 sack and 2 hits on quarterback Jared Goff.
"He's going to be good," Bosa said of Sewell after the game. "He's more comfortable on the left, and I could tell from the tape I saw of him on the right. I told him after the game he's better on the left."
After the game, head coach Dan Campbell talked about his comfortability of Sewell on the left side. "It was late in the second and I remember I was going to say something in the head set like, 'This kid is playing pretty good, like I feel like he's holding his own,' but I didn't want to do it because I didn't want to jinx him," head coach Campbell said. "When you don't even think twice about him, at a certain point, you are thinking about everything else, that is a good sign."
As always, Sewell was humble after his first start.
"I got to get better at a couple things," he said. "My hands were out of whack, pad level came too high on a couple, so I got to go back to the drawing board and get better for next week.”
For now, Sewell will continue to man the left side of the offensive line. At least till Decker returns. But for now, it is an opportunity to shine in the position that he is accustomed to.