When the topic of discussion about the Chicago Bears draft plans come up, it usually starts with the same question. Are they going to trade up? It’s a reasonable thing to wonder. GM Ryan Pace has a long track record of moving up early in drafts. He did it in 2016 and 2017. If he senses the opportunity to go get a difference-maker of a talent, he’ll do it. Then there is the obvious need at quarterback.
Andy Dalton is their guy right now. Yet how long will that last? He’s only on a one-year deal. Chicago has no viable QB on the roster they can look at as a long-term option. If they see somebody higher up the board they like, going up to get them seems like a logical idea. Somebody who can sit behind Dalton and learn for a year. That is the only reason to move up.
Or is it?
People are so focused on quarterbacks that they stop before asking a follow-up question. Could Pace move up for a player other than a signal-caller? One name that deserves this sort of attention is Penei Sewell. Prior to last year, many viewed the Oregon left tackle as a lock for the top 5 whenever he declared for the draft. However, thanks to not playing in 2020 due to the pandemic, it appears his stock might be slipping. This despite widespread praise for how ridiculously talented he is.
Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com sees him slipping to the bottom of the top 10. Todd McShay of ESPN sees him falling all the way to the Chargers at #13. It’s incredible to think about considering some of the scouting reports. Jeremiah’s colleague Lance Zierlein compared him to 49ers Pro Bowler Trent Williams. Here’s what a scout had to say about him.
“He’s a good kid but he’s immature as a worker so he might need a veteran to take him under his wing and help him learn to be a pro. Very few men who walk the Earth have his size and athleticism so he’s worth any type of risk you think you are taking with (limited) tape.”
Chicago Bears have good reasons to covet Penei Sewell
The kid is 6’6, 325 lbs. Massive size for an NFL tackle and yet he moves like a tight end. Supremely athletic for his mass. His temperament and power as a run blocker stand out constantly as well. He loves to bulldoze people. The primary issue evaluators seem to have with him is his rather lazy technique. He’s not always disciplined in his approach, which leads to lapses in pass protection.
This shouldn’t be a huge surprise considering he’s only 20-years old. It’s a safe assumption he probably would’ve ironed out a lot of his issues had he played in 2020. Things were headed that way. This kid has all the makings of a franchise left tackle. All-Pro level. Not just a regular starter. Somebody who can be dominant for a decade. Just imagine putting him in the hands of Juan Castillo. Getting to learn from him and a consummate pro like Charles Leno would be ideal. The Chicago Bears haven’t had somebody like that since Jimbo Covert.
The price tag would be steep but worth it if he fulfills his potential.
In truth, the Bears aren’t really in a position to take that sort of gamble. Especially if Sewell isn’t likely to play in 2021. They need players who can contribute immediately. Still, Pace is never afraid to take risks on special talents. Moving up for Sewell would be unorthodox, but man the payoff would be enormous. He is that talented. Outside of quarterback, there isn’t a more important position for an NFL offense than the left tackle.