Sewell was a Force for Oregon | NFL DRAFT '23
By Adam Aniba
As we continue to dig through linebacker prospects, one particular prospect shined in the PAC-12 during the '22 season. Oregon MLB Noah Sewell made his presence known as a pass rusher and against the run, but also held his own in zone coverage.
6'2" 253 lbs | MLB | ORE
Draft Proj 2nd Rd
Career (33 Games)- 218 TAK (105 solo), 20.5 TFL, 7.5 SACKS, 3 FF, 1 FR, 9 PD & 2 INTS
'22 Stats (12 Games)- 56 TAK (24 solo), 5.5 TFL & 2.5 SACKS, 1 FR, 1 INT & 4 PD
Sewell was born in Malaeimi, American Samoa and attended Orem HS (Utah). The name might sound familiar, considering he's the younger brother of Detroit Lions OT Penei Sewell.
Sewell played inside linebacker, running back and even took snaps at QB while at Orem, accounting for 224 tackles (116 solo), 29.0 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks, 5 interceptions and 5 forced fumbles. As a runner, he accounted for for 2,316 yards and 40 touchdowns.
As a senior, Sewell led his squad to the 5A State Championship and was awarded the Utah Valley Football Player of the Year Award. He was rated as a 5-Star prospect, ranked as the #1 prospect in the state of Utah and #3 ILB prospect in the nation by ESPN.
The awards and accolades kept coming, as he was named to the 1st-Team All-USA Defense by USA Today and the '19 1st-Team MaxPreps HS Football All-American Team.
Sewell was one of the most sought after linebacker prospects in the nation during the '19-'20 recruiting process with offers from; Oregon, Alabama, Arizona, Arizona State, Auburn, BYU, California, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Hawaii, Kansas State, LSU, Miami (Fla.), Michigan, Nebraska, Nevada, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Oregon State, Stanford, Tennessee, Texas A&M, USC, Utah, Utah State, Virginia, Washington, Washington State and Wisconsin.
Ultimately the 5-Star recruit selected Oregon, where his brother Penei attended and was the star OT for Desert Hills HS in Utah.
Sewell made his presence felt immediately and lead his team in tackles (45). He also led all Pac-12 freshmen in tackles, FTLs (6.5) and sacks (2.0), while playing in all seven games (5 starts at Mike linebacker).
His efforts earned him Pac-12 Freshman Defensive Player of the Year. In addition, he was named to the 247Sports True Freshman All-America team, Rivals.com Freshman All-America team, The Athletic Freshman All-America first team and was a Coaches Pac-12 All-Conference honorable mention.
Fast forward to the '22 season and the Sewell earned All-Pac-12 1st-team honors, playing in 12 games before opting out of the SDCCU Holiday Bowl and declaring for the 2023 NFL Draft.
Sewell shined as a versatile MIKE linebacker while at Oregon, but was utilized at multiple spots along the defensive front and even saw frequent reps at Edge rusher and in the slot in sub-packages.
Sewell was an asset against the run, but also showed tremendous upside in zone coverage, most notably when matched up against tight ends. He was often deployed of the edge on 3rd downs.
Coaches Pac-12 All-Conference second team
Phil Steele All-Pac-12 first team
Associated Press All-Pac-12 second team
Polynesian College Football Player of the Year finalist
Butkus Award semifinalist
Walter Camp Player of the Year semifinalist
Displays a relentless motor with a mean streak
Extremely powerful (425 lbs bench press/655 lbs deadlift) with violent hands, and effectively utilizes his strength to shed blocks
Displayed solid instincts as a coverage linebacker, primarily in zone
Excellent burst off the snap and a valuable asset as a pass rusher
Sideline-to-sideline linebacker, who displays the instincts pre/post snap to forecast the play and attack ball carriers
Can be over-aggressive with a tendency to over run the play at times
Although very strong and instinctive, too often becomes a drag down tackler opposed to a big hitter
Tackling technique needs refinement (minor concern)
Locks onto the QB too often, allowing for pass catchers to get behind him in coverage
Struggles at times with change of direction, while opening up his hips in man coverage
Sewell will surprise many with his timed speed during the NFL combine (clocked 20.85 mph on the GPS at Oregon) and overall agility. His ability as a downhill linebacker, who also has the agility to thrive in zone coverage will make him a commodity on the next level.
Although a team could certainly pull the trigger on the Oregon linebacker late in Round 1, he currently ranks as the 3rd MLB in the class on our board and the 2nd round seems more likely.
Similar to other 2nd round prospects evaluated, the Ducks MLB does have deficiencies in his game that need to be cleaned up on the next level. Nonetheless, Sewell has the ability to be a year one difference maker in the right system.
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