Cincinnati Bengals, NCAA Football, NFL Draft

Bengals’ great makes clear passing on Penei Sewell would be mistake

Former offensive lineman Willie Anderson is hoping the Cincinnati Bengals do the right thing and draft Oregon football star Penei Sewell with the No. 5 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Willie Anderson wants to see his Cincinnati Bengals draft Penei Sewell out of Oregon this spring.

Anderson spent 12 of 13 NFL seasons in Bengals uniform. He made four straight trips to the Pro Bowl in the mid-2000s. Anderson is one of the 10 best players in franchise history and arguably the second best offensive tackle the Bengals have ever had after the legendary Anthony Muñoz. So when he sees his team has a chance to draft the next Muñoz in Sewell, well, they have to do it.

“The kid had a great day,” said Anderson Friday night after Sewell’s Oregon Pro Day. “The arm length is the only serious question. He showed what he’s showed on film. He’s explosive, he’s athletic and he matched that up with what they thought he’d run. Big dude. A great day for a big dude.”

Because Sewell didn’t have the prerequisite 35-inch arms at his Pro Day, people are trying to dock the best offensive tackle prospect we’ve seen come out of the Pac-12 since probably Jonathan Ogden. Anderson thinks arm length is overrated, but is a fan of the rest of Sewell’s otherwise complete game and is excited about what he could develop into, hopefully in Bengals uniform.

“I don’t know. I really don’t know,” said Anderson. “Does it give you extra push faster when guys get into your chest? Does it make you use a certain kind of technique differently? Maybe a guy with longer arms can be more patient and push a guy around the quarterback? I’ve heard guys say it doesn’t matter. I’ve heard some line coaches say they live and die by it.”

“But maybe he’s just so athletic, it doesn’t matter. Or maybe it’s just a matter of using another technique?. . .In the run game, he’s moving guys out of the way. You can see him do that,” Anderson said. “He’s so young, you look up and you say, ‘Damn, what will we have in five years?”

The Bengals would be making a huge mistake passing on Penei Sewell at No. 5

The Bengals are not taking a quarterback at No. 5. Everybody knows this. Joe Burrow showed the NFL that he is poised for stardom prior to suffering a season-ending torn ACL. While he may want the Bengals to bring in his former LSU teammate Ja’Marr Chase with the No. 5 overall pick, this graphic that Anderson endorsed on Twitter let us know exactly what he wants the Bengals to do.

Even though Cincinnati let former perennial Pro Bowler A.J. Green walk to the Arizona Cardinals in his free agency, they still have a strong receiver in Tyler Boyd, as well as a former college standout and Burrow’s draft classmate Tee Higgins. Regardless of if Chase gives off the vibes of the next Randy Moss, none of that is going to matter if Burrow spends half his life looking up at the clouds.

Ultimately, the Bengals are going to stay put at No. 5, no matter how compelling of an offer they may get from a quarterback-desperate team, mostly because they are the Bengals. Though it would be great to see Burrow rifle the pigskin to Chase, 2020 Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith or 2020 Mackey Award winner Kyle Pitts, Burrow needs all the protection he can get.

If the Bengals do not take Sewell if he is available at No. 5, they have committed draft malpractice.

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