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Detroit Lions’ rookie tackle Penei Sewell handling transition to NFL

By STEVE KORNACKI

Associated Press

ALLEN PARK — Penei Sewell knows that scrutiny is part of what comes with being a top-10 NFL draft pick.

So, when the rookie starting right tackle allowed a sack on third-and-10 in the first series of his first exhibition game Friday against the Buffalo Bills, he knew he had to take it in stride.

“At the end of the day,” Sewell said after Monday’s practice, “I can’t change what has just happened. We’ve got to focus on what’s next. I’ve got to get my hands right. Right now, they are too wide, especially going against people in the league. So, I’ve just got to lock in on that and fine-tune on my pad level and get my knees bent back.”

After the game, Lions coach Dan Campbell said Sewell wasn’t completely at fault.

“That wasn’t all him,” Campbell said. “It was on the combination (block). … He needs those reps. For him to come out and not be beat, I’d be shocked.”

Sewell was the No. 7 overall pick by the Detroit Lions in the draft and Friday was his first game action in 19 months. He sat out last season after opting out, and his previous game was Oregon’s Rose Bowl win over Wisconsin in the 2019 season.

Campbell has been impressed with Sewell thus far.

“There are a number of things,” Campbell said. “Just his ability to adjust, it really shows up, the way he’s grown. There are things that he gets beat on the day before that it’s not happening the next day or the next rep. Just to be able to go out there and face a new opponent like the other day, he didn’t throw his hands like he had been and then you see him in the next rep and he does it.”

Sewell said he’s getting more comfortable after his first NFL game.

“Now that I’ve got that first game under my belt, all my nerves have settled down a bit,” he said. “Now I know what to expect.”