Most know the last name Sewell due to former Oregon offensive tackle and top-five pick Penei. But there is another Sewell making waves in Eugene. Oregon LB Noah Sewell possesses an alluring 2023 NFL Draft scouting report. With another standout campaign as a true junior in 2022, he should hear his name called on Day 1 of the NFL draft.
Noah Sewell NFL draft profile
Sewell’s college dominance was expected. Not just due to the name on the back of his jersey but because of his high school performance. After spending two years at Desert Hills High School as a quarterback, he transferred to Orem HS. The move proved to be career-altering, with Sewell making the switch to linebacker.
He left Orem with 206 total tackles (28 for loss), 7 1/2 sacks, four interceptions, and four forced fumbles. As a result, Sewell earned a five-star rating and was the No. 1 recruit in Utah, the No. 5 commit in Oregon’s history, and the No. 13 overall player in the 2020 class.
He picked up right where he left off, leading the Ducks in tackles as a true freshman (45) and receiving Pac-12 Freshman Defensive Player of the Year. 2021 was much of the same, with Sewell earning a first-team All-Pac-12 nod as well as a semifinalist spot for the Butkus Award. Across two seasons, Sewell has registered 159 total tackles (15 for loss), six sacks, one INT, six PBUs, and three forced fumbles.
Sewell checks the high school pedigree and college production boxes. But does he pass the litmus tests for other crucial NFL traits?
- Position: Linebacker
- School: Oregon
- Current Year: Junior
- Height/Weight: 6’3″, 251 pounds
Noah Sewell scouting report
At 6’3″ and 251 pounds, Sewell meets NFL size requirements for a starting linebacker. He also moves like a smaller player, lending to his ability to disrupt opposing offenses. It’s easy to see why many NFL draft pundits have already taken a liking to Sewell. Yet, is he truly a first-round caliber player, and is he LB1 in the 2023 NFL Draft?
“Men lie, women lie, the tape doesn’t.” At least, I think that’s what Jay Z said. Either way, let’s delve into Sewell’s tape to discover what NFL franchises can expect from the Oregon LB.
Where Sewell wins
There is no other place to start this section than with Sewell’s sheer physicality. His size is a conduit for a devasting ability to come downhill, stack and shed blocks, and fill gaps in the run game. Stored power in his hands, a muscular upper body, and a thickly built lower half render Sewell an increasingly rare LB prospect that can take on offensive linemen and win consistently. If he gets a free shot at the QB or ball carrier, the refs might as well blow the play dead.
In run defense, the Oregon LB can shock offensive linemen with his length and cinder-block hands. He can also disengage blocks and accelerate, dip under overaggressive opponents, and use his instincts to cut off rushing lanes and meet ball carriers. Those instincts show up in his capability to quickly react to evolving plays, and he has flashed pre-snap recognition skills to set himself and his teammates up for success.
Sewell is also a legitimate pass-rushing weapon. He thrives as a blitzer, especially when he has time to gain speed and simply freight train the opposition. Rushing off the edge on occasion isn’t out of the question either, as he has enough athleticism to threaten the arc with speed and the overwhelming strength to bull rush lighter tackles. That speed also appears in pursuit, where Sewell tracks down rushers with ease.
While Sewell is a bit of a throwback linebacker who controls the box with brute force, he is no slouch in other facets. He won’t ever be a Devin White, Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, or even a Trenton Simpson in his own class — LBs who fly around the field with blazing speed and can line up in the slot. But Sewell can match up with tight ends and running backs. Much of his coverage prowess stems from his impressive football IQ, especially in zone. He can read the eyes of QBs and uses his length to muddle passing lanes.
An underrated aspect of Sewell’s scouting report is his durability. He has exited early with minor injuries, but he has yet to miss a game in his college career. Additionally, he contributes on special teams, primarily on the field goal block unit.
Sewell’s areas for improvement
It’s not all sunshine and roses with Sewell. His positives far outweigh his negatives, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Firstly, Sewell needs to improve as a tackler. He has missed more open-field tackles than you would like. It doesn’t seem to be a technique issue, although he can drop his head and leave his feet early at times. It is more so due to him over-pursuing angles and coming in out of control rather than balanced.
His sideline-to-sideline range is above average, but his lateral spryness isn’t elite. Sewell can’t change directions on a dime, and his lack of overall fluidity limits his ability in man coverage and overall range. And in zone, he occasionally stays locked onto the QB for too long, leading to receivers slipping into open areas behind and to the sides of him.
Current draft projection for Oregon LB Noah Sewell
No need to waste time here; Sewell is a first-rounder. Linebacker is the running back of defense in the NFL draft. It is a less valuable position, forcing extremely talented players down the board. Yet, a prospect of Sewell’s caliber won’t slip too far. He is a MIKE linebacker who can start from Day 1, both physically and mentally. He must clean up his tackling and improve his awareness in coverage, but the rest of his profile has few holes.
Every team in the league could use a linebacker that can displace take-on blocks, rush off the edge, blitz, and rack up tackles. Sewell’s hair-on-fire brand of football will endear him to every defensive coach, as will his first-off-the-bus physique. He is more than just a bloodline player. Sewell is a defensive catalyst with the potential to be the first LB off the board in the 2023 NFL Draft.