The Lions may no longer have anticipated Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell to fall into their laps with the seventh overall assume in the 2021 draft, nonetheless Sewell was there, and the Lions went with what was clearly a “handiest player available” philosophy regardless of more pressing needs at various positions — especially receiver. Detroit lost both Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones in free agency, leaving unique quarterback Jared Goff with targets including Breshad Perriman, Tyrell Williams, Quintez Cephus, and 2021 fourth-round assume Amon-Ra St. Brown. Now not great for a quarterback in Goff who has confirmed that he needs his targets to be fairly dominant if substantial plays are to arrive out of the passing game.
Nonetheless Sewell was the fellow, and while that resolution makes sense on its face, there is the matter of Taylor Decker, who manned Detroit’s left facet rather correctly in 2020, signed a 5-year, $59.65 million contract extension last September, and is thus beneath contract via the 2025 season. In 1.048 snaps at left tackle last season, per Professional Football Focal level, Decker allowed two sacks, six quarterback hits, and 19 quarterback hurries, proving to be a plus race-blocker as correctly. So, although Sewell is a natural left tackle (it’s the most fascinating place he played at Oregon), the Lions are switching him to the right facet. Some have a tendency to contemplate that this isn’t a substantial deal, nonetheless while you talk to the males in the trenches, there’s more to it than you mediate.
Which Sewell is now discovering.
“It is no longer any longer that easy,” Sewell said Thursday after the Lions’ third day of organized team activities, per Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “Man, it’s a entire various feel. Again, it’s admire, let’s say I’m right-handed so I’ve been writing right-handed my entire existence, and then one day you’re suitable asked to write your stout name left-handed at stout race, the same race that you write together with your right hand. So yeah, it’s a minute little bit of an adjustment.”
It’s price noting right here that Decker hasn’t played a single snap at right tackle in his NFL career, which began when Detroit took him with the 16th overall assume in the 2016 draft, and he had exactly one snap at right tackle for the duration of his time at Ohio State. So, captivating him over makes even less sense.
Buccaneers 2020 first-round assume Tristan Wirfs, who played both left and right tackle at Iowa, attach it way more… colorfully a couple weeks before Tampa Bay selected him.
“When I first started flipping back and forth, I mediate I was attempting to probe for a substantial distinction,” Wirfs said back then. “Honestly, the most fascinating thing various is you purchased your various hand down. It suitable feels awkward at first nonetheless while you compromise in it feels fair. . . . It kinda feels admire wiping your butt together with your various hand. It suitable feels a minute awkward at first, nonetheless you acquire used to it.”
Alrighty then. The Bucs kept Wirfs on the right facet, and to great stop. The rookie allowed suitable one sack and and 24 total pressures on 851 pass-blocking snaps in a excessive-volume passing offense. Wirfs played far more right tackle than left tackle in college, and he didn’t have to make that adjustment when dealing with better and more skilled pass-rushers, as correctly as more complicated stress ideas.
“Respect, he appears admire a rookie,” Lions head coach Dan Campbell said of Sewell on Thursday. “He appears athletic. I’ll say this; I by no means idea Sewell could explore small, nonetheless while you glance him subsequent to [Taylor] Decker, he doesn’t explore rather as substantial. Nonetheless he’s a substantial human being. He appears admire what you probably can mediate he would explore admire. Man, he’s bought talent, he’s hungry, he’s aggressive. Man, let’s suitable middle back, calm down, watch how all individuals does it. Watch the drift, watch your footwork right here, take your steps, watch the cadence, pay attention to these gadgets. Even in three days, you glance him bettering already. That’s all you can ask for right now. It’s good to have him right here and to be with those guys, it’s exactly what you want.”
It may be what the Lions want, nonetheless the transition to the right facet could take a while.
“I really contemplate a lot of guys are more atmosphere pleasant at one facet or the varied,” then-Bengals and now-Rams left tackle Andrew Whitworth told PFF’s Sam Monson in 2012. “Definite, most tackles are good players and can play both facets, nonetheless usually there is a vast distinction in how technical or athletic they are one facet to the varied, in the event that they sustain switching. I really could by no means glance myself as a right tackle, I’m a left-hand dominant guy all the way.”
Geoff Schwartz, who was then playing guard for the Vikings, agreed.
“If you explore at most lines, the backup LT is the LG, or he’s on the bench. Both teams I’ve played on, our backup LT was the LG. It’s very sophisticated for guys to be able to successfully play on both facets of the line with out prolonged hours practicing it.
“That is why you don’t normally glance linemen switching facets of the ball for harm or performance. Playing offensive line is a very technical place. Being a great athlete and a physical player can most fascinating take you so far while you don’t train factual technique. It is important to drill over and over again to acquire the footwork and hand placement down. On top of that, mentally switching issues over for your head can be tough at first. You’re used to reacting to movement on one facet of the line of scrimmage, now it’s happening on the reverse facet.”
So, no longer most fascinating does Sewell have to transition to a place he hasn’t played since excessive faculty, he has to achieve it at the next diploma after opting out of the 2020 season. That’s a very prolonged time to hasten with out playing your ideal place on the topic, by no means mind all the transitional points. This does give the Lions a rather estimable LT backup if Decker is unavailable at any time for whatever reason, nonetheless there are occasions when “handiest player available” can cause a traffic jam from a positional standpoint.