With the 2021 NFL Draft coming up later this month in Cleveland, Cincinnati Bengals fans are making their desired selection known.
They want Penei Sewell.
Bengals fans have swooned over the former Oregon Ducks offensive tackle as protection for quarterback Joe Burrow, who was sacked 32 times and tore his ACL, MCL and PCL tear in Week 11.
The fanbase even went as far as sporting a large sign at a game vs. the Steelers last season to send a message to the Bengals front office that read a “Penei for your thoughts.”
But then there’s another segment of Bengals fans who want to see the team draft an offensive weapon such as LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase. A viral meme circulated on Twitter showcasing the Sewell vs. Chase debate.
Well, Cincy, you can’t have both.
Cincinnati holds the fifth-overall pick and eight total picks in this year’s draft, but should the Bengals draft Chase, pass on Sewell and find another man in the trenches later on the board? Sure, the 2021 NFL Draft will have a deep offensive line class, but we’re talking Penei Sewell.
As Oregon coach Mario Cristobal described him in a segment with NFL Network, Sewell isn’t just any prospective draft pick, he’s a “generational player.”
"The leadership, the power which he plays with, his football IQ,” Cristobal said.
The 6-foot-6, 325-pound 2019 Outland Trophy Winner only played two seasons in Eugene, Oregon, and allowed just one sack in over 1,376 snaps. That raw athleticism, blocking, and footwork allowed then Oregon Duck, Justin Herbert, to stay healthy and eventually become a top-six pick by the Chargers in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Following the 2019 season, Sewell received the highest grade ever given to an offensive lineman, 95.5. He also led the nation with a 95.3 run-blocking grade and finished third-overall with a pass-blocking grade of 91.1.
The Bengals will certainly have a tough decision in the coming weeks, but Burrow must be protected at all costs. The Bengals ranked 24th in rushing in 2020 and gave up the third-most sacks in the NFL.
But when they are on the clock, Cincy should fulfill the wishes of Bengals fans everywhere (well, at least half of them). Just draft Penei Sewell.