With the choice of a potential franchise quarterback or any defensive prospect in the class, the Lions opted to take who they felt is the best offensive lineman in the draft and selected Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell.
The selection of Sewell strengthens what is generally viewed as Detroit’s best unit, where he projects as the starter at right tackle.
The Lions opted to take Sewell over Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields, reaffirming the franchise’s commitment to Jared Goff, whom the team acquired in last month’s trade that sent Matthew Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams.
The addition of Penei can also be viewed as a commitment to Goff. The 6-foot-5, 331-pounder won the Outland Trophy in 2019 as the nation’s best interior lineman before opting out of the 2020 season.
Sewell joins a young, talented offensive line consisting of two other former first-rounders, Taylor Decker and Frank Ragnow. The rest of starting five is expected to be Jonah Jackson, a third-round draft pick a year ago, and Halapoulivaati Vaitai.
Prior to Sewell’s selection, the draft started as everyone expected, with quarterbacks coming off the board the first three selections. The Jacksonville Jaguars made Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence the No. 1 pick, followed by the Jets taking BYU’s Zach Wilson and San Francisco going with North Dakota State’s Trey Lance.
The Atlanta Falcons broke the string of passers by snagging Florida tight end Kyle Pitts at No. 4. It marked the earliest the position has ever been addressed in the NFL Draft, besting Hall of Famer Mike Ditka, who was taken with the fifth pick in 1961.
At No. 5, the Bengals opted to reunite quarterback Joe Burrow with his top target from LSU’s 2019 national championship team, Ja’Marr Chase. During that run, the star receiver caught 84 passes for 1,780 yards and 20 touchdowns.
Putting the Lions on the clock, the Dolphins kept the run of pass catchers going, choosing Alabama receiver Jaylen Waddle at No. 6. Like the previous pick, it reconnected college teammates, giving second-year quarterback Tua Tagovailoa an explosive receiving option.
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