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Penei Sewell continues to look like a bust | Ex-NFL scout not surprised

If an NFL defensive coordinator wants to know how to game plan to beat Detroit left tackle Penei Sewell, all he has to do is watch the game against Minnesota. 

Vikings’ defensive end Everson Griffen gave a tutorial on how to beat Sewell. Go through the B Gap. Go through the B Gap. Go through the B Gap. Say it with me, go through the B Gap. Emphatically, I presented this same game plan how to beat Sewell back on Sept. 17 (click to read article).

The B gap in the world of football is the gap that exists between Sewell’s inside shoulder and the left guard who plays next to him. 

I have been screaming this through my keyboard since before the draft. I said before the Lions’ even selected Sewell, that he would make a better guard than a tackle (click to see my pre-draft scouting report). Social media laughed me out of the room. 

Sewell has these big, thick and heavy legs and ankles, that just do not move quickly enough when he is challenged hard back to the inside by speed, athleticism and/or polished pass rushing moves (see Griffin game and quick spin move for example). 

Those big, heavy, thick legs and ankles do not adjust quickly. Everyone still wants to wrap Sewell in a rookie blanket of excuses, but this is not a rookie problem. This is who Sewell is and this is Sewell will continue to be. It showed up on his college film at as well, which is why I wrote about this concern word for word pre-draft.

Sewell’s big, thick and stout frame is not built to adjust quickly in space. He is more of a Ford pick-up truck with over-sized tires than a Ferrari. I said it pre-draft and I have continued saying it in subsequent articles, Sewell is going to struggle when he goes up against polished pass rushers with speed through the front and back doors of the pocket. Sewell has a tendency to either stop moving his feet and lose his body control through the back door or altogether loses his body control through the front door of the pocket, when challenged. There were also a number of times Griffen was in the process of beating Sewell through the back door, but Goff managed to get rid of the ball. 

Let us not forget we are talking about Everson Griffen too, the same Everson Griffen who is on his second go-around with the Vikings after signing with Dallas as a free agent in 2020, then he was traded from Dallas to Detroit before finding his way back to Minnesota. We are talking about a 33-year old who is made the 21-year old Sewell look like a statue. 

That is a scary thought and it is not even Halloween yet.

I said in an article Sept. 6 (click to read article)  where I laid it out how to beat Sewell word for word, before Griffen even played him. This is not rocket science, it is all on the game film, which paints a very different picture than the National sports media narratives that talk about Sewell, like some kind of future Hall-of-Famer. In that article I stated, “Penei Sewell could give up one-three sacks per game.”

This is not just a “bad game,” and nobody is going to play the “oh he was sort of banged up either.” He got killed on an inside rush against Chicago’s Trevis Gipson two weeks ago and Gipson was a fifth round pick out of Tulsa. We are not talking about Minnesota’s pass-rushing superstar, Danielle Hunter or Chicago’s Khalil Mack embarrassing Sewell. We are talking about old-man Everson Griffen and a fifth round pick, Trevis Gipson.

Moving Sewell back to right tackle is not the answer either (see his preseason struggles for more information).

Sewell is just not a franchise offensive tackle in the NFL, and more and more players and fans are starting to see what I said, before Detroit ever sent the card in. 

Daniel Kelly is a former NFL scout with the New York Jets. He was hired on the regime which featured Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick, Scott Pioli, Mike Tannenbaum, and Dick Haley. He currently writes for Sports Illustrated Detroit Lions and he is a contributing evaluator for Draft Diamonds. For more information about him visit his website at He can be followed on Twitter @danielkellybook and his Facebook page is WHATEVER IT TAKES NFL TALK. 

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