Draft Profile: BioNephi Sewell is the brother, Penei, who last year was drafted number 7 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft by Detroit. He played running back at high school where he rushed for 1,262 yards and 14 scores, but despite this performance was rated just a two-star prospect. He joined Nevada where he was asked to play defense and in two years while playing safety he made 97 tackles and made 2 interceptions.
Sewell transferred to Utah ahead of the 2019 season and after playing sparingly in 2019 he switched to linebacker in 2020 and made an impact as he finished second on the team in total tackles with 40 (6.0 TFL), added one forced fumble, two fumble recoveries with one for a touchdown, a team-high tying two interceptions, and two pass breakups. At season's end, he received a Pac-12 All-Conference honorable mention.
In 2021 Sewell saw action in 13 games and started all but one - he finished the year ranked second on the team with 89 tackles (7.5 TFL), added one interception, a forced fumble, and a QB rating when targetted in coverage of 66.0. As a result, he was awarded with a spot on the 2021 Associated Press Pac-12 All-Conference First Team.
Scouting Report: Strengths
- Football runs in his blood with both brothers Penei and Noah playing football
- Flashes explosive pop on contact. Wraps arms securely to make the reliable tackle but is not technically sound.
- Is a high effort player with a none stop motor - who plays sideline to sideline
- Shows good speed to stay with running backs around the edge and takes ideal angles to the ball carrier
- Is instinctive in the screen game and shows impressive short area coverage ability
- Tougher between the tackles than many expect. Fluid and quick drop into zone, covers enough ground to be Tampa-2 "MIKE" and knows where the markers are.
- Gets pressures on inside stunts and was too explosive for college guards to handle.
- Former safety who displays nice instinctive coverage ability with very good range
- Keeps feet moving after initial contact. Jumps inside as a counter to typical rush, but needs to show a larger variety of moves.
Scouting Report: Weaknesses
- At just 5-11 1/2 (measured at the combine) and 226lbs Sewell has obvious size limitations for an NFL level linebacker
- Has short arms and overall wingspan which limits his tackling ability as well as his ability to keep blockers out of his pads
- Inconsistent hustle. Only adequate change-of-direction ability. Also loses his balance too often in the open field. Lacks size to bull rush stronger tackles.
- Must work on using violent hands and defeating cut blocks. Also needs to build a variety of pass-rush moves.
- Loses size battle to many tight ends and is easily pushed away on out routes.
- Lacks pop and strength to anchor, though. Most effective when uncovered inside and chasing stretch plays to the sideline.
- Needs to get stronger to do more damage at the point of attack and is very unpolished with the mental aspect of the position. Streaky instincts and anticipation.
Scouting Report: SummaryNephi Sewell is a fringe prospect who may struggle to make an impact in the pro game. He is a strong tackler with decent although not elite speed and good skills in coverage, he, however, is very undersized and will likely be unable to hold up in run defense and so will be regarded as a bit of a tweener - not big enough to play linebacker but not fast enough to play full-time safety.
Expect Sewell to hear his name called in the 6th or seventh round of the 2022 NFL Draft by a team looking for a nickel linebacker who can contribute on special teams
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