Professional Football Hall of Fame tackle Anthony Munoz endorsed Oregon tackle Penei Sewell ahead of the 2021 NFL Draft.
So why didn’t the Bengals follow through with this approval? That’s a legitimate question after Cincinnati selected LSU wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase with the No.5 pick on Thursday.
As a result, Chase and Sewell will be pitted against each other for the rest of their careers. Sewell spoke to Sporting News as part of a partnership with USAA before the project, and he heard Munoz’s approval.
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“I can’t let this go to my head and be complacent,” Sewell said. “I heard it, and it made me smile and created another motivation. When an all-time greatest in this position says that about me, it gives me confidence in my mind that I can do my best. work at best. my ability. “
Sewell, who has only allowed one sack in two seasons at Oregon, was selected by the Lions in 7th place.
Sewell opted out of the 2020 college football season, but that didn’t affect his draft status. He’s one of the safest first-round picks and Detroit’s fourth pick on the offensive line in the past seven years.
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“The offensive line is a unique position,” Sewell said. “Everyone has different things that work for them. For me, it was about going through the process and seeing if things are working for me and seeing if it’s okay with me.”
Sewell seemed like the logical choice for the Bengals knowing that quarterback Joe Burrow took 32 sacks and suffered a late season knee injury in 2020.
Instead, Cincinnati went with Burrow’s favorite target at LSU. Chase has 84 passes for 1,780 yards (21.2 yards per catch) and 20 touchdowns in 2020. It’s a coup for Burrow to get Chase to Cincinnati, and it could play out.
Burrow still needs more protection. Cincinnati approached the offensive line with Riley Reiff in free agency and still have 2019 first-round pick Jonah Williams on tackle, and that will likely add depth to Days 2 and 3 of the draft.
Reiff was Detroit’s first-round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. In 2021, the Lions selected a strong offensive lineman to build around new quarterback Jared Goff under the guidance of first-year coach Dan Campbell. Detroit was expected to take a receiver for most fake drafts. Taking Sewell made more sense, however.
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The role reversal is interesting, and the choice will be called into question if Cincinnati can’t better protect Burrow under third-year coach Zac Taylor in 2021. Did the Lions take advantage of the Bengals’ move to Sewell?
This is something to watch for in the short term.
If Sewell is who Munoz thinks he is, it could become a long-term question that keeps coming back to Cincinnati.