When the 2021 NFL draft kicks off on April 29, former Desert Hills High and Oregon star offensive tackle Penei Sewell is expected to be selected at least in the top half of the first round, and perhaps very early.
Like with any prospect, there’s some disagreement among NFL personnel and draft evaluators about just how good Sewell will be. ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. has long maintained that Sewell has Hall of Fame potential, while multiple anonymous scouts recently expressed some doubt about Sewell to The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman.
But what does recent history say about the chances of Sewell becoming either great, good or a bust? Here is a look at the offensive tackles who have been taken in the first round of the draft each year since 2011. Note that some have since moved to guard but were drafted as tackles, according to Draft History.
The raw numbers
In the 10 drafts from 2011-2020, 39 offensive tackles were taken in the first round. Of those, 12 were taken from 2018-2020, and none of those have yet been named to a Pro Bowl or an All-Pro team. Of the 27 remaining, nine have been selected to at least one Pro Bowl.
Dallas’ Tyron Smith has by far the most Pro Bowl selections with seven, while three others have three selections each (the all-time record for most Pro Bowls for an offensive tackle is 11, set by multiple players).
New Orleans’ Andrus Peat made his first Pro Bowl in 2018 and has a three-year streak going. Miami’s Laremy Tunsil made his first in 2019 and has a two-year streak going. That leaves 18 more who have had varying degrees of success during their careers.
While none of the offensive tackles taken in the first round the last three years have garnered special honors, both taken in 2017 have (former Utah Ute Garett Bolles of Denver and Ryan Ramczyk of New Orleans), so it’s probably fair to think that the jury is still out on the most recent picks.
With that in mind, here’s a brief look at how each of the offensive tackles taken between 2011 and 2017 has fared.
Tyron Smith: 9th pick, Dallas Cowboys — The first player we’ll mention has had the best career of any offensive tackle taken between 2011 and 2020, as he made seven straight Pro Bowls from 2013-2019 before an injury in 2020. He was named a First Team All Pro in 2014 and 2016 and received second team honors in 2013 and 2015.
Nate Solder: 17th pick, New England Patriots — Has appeared in 130 career games with 127 starts.
Anthony Castonzo: 22nd pick, Indianapolis Colts — Played for the Colts for 10 seasons and started all 144 games he appeared in before retiring after the 2020 campaign.
James Carpenter: 25th pick, Seattle Seahawks — Started 121 of 127 games he played in over 10 seasons for three teams but was released by the Atlanta Falcons in March and remains a free agent.
Gabe Carimi: 29th pick, Chicago Bears — Played in 48 games with 26 starts over four seasons for three teams.
Derek Sherrod: 32nd pick, Green Bay Packers — Played in 20 games with one start over four seasons.
Matt Kalil: 4th pick, Minnesota Vikings — Made the Pro Bowl after his rookie season and wound up playing six years for two teams, starting all 82 games he appeared in.
Riley Reiff: 23rd pick, Detroit Lions — Has appeared in 135 games with 127 starts over nine seasons for two teams and recently signed with the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals have the fifth pick in this year’s draft and are considered a team likely to consider selecting Sewell.
Eric Fisher: 1st pick, Kansas City Chiefs — Made the Pro Bowl in 2018 and 2020 and has started 113 of the 117 career games he has appeared in. He was released by the Chiefs after last season, however, and is a free agent.
Luke Joeckel: 2nd pick, Jacksonville Jaguars — Taken one pick after Fisher at the top of the draft, Joeckel played in 50 games (all starts) over five seasons for two teams.
Lane Johnson: 4th pick, Philadelphia Eagles — The fourth pick in the offensive tackle-heavy top of this draft, Johnson has made three Pro Bowl appearances and started all 99 career games he has appeared in for the Eagles. In 2017 he garnered First Team All Pro honors.
D.J. Fluker: 11th pick, San Diego (Los Angeles) Chargers — Has bounced around, having played for four teams (and just signed with his fifth, Miami), but has started 96 of the 108 career games he has played in.
Justin Pugh: 19th pick, New York Giants — Has started all 101 of the career games he has appeared in for two teams.
Greg Robinson: 2nd pick, St. Louis (Los Angeles) Rams — Considered one of the biggest draft busts in recent memory, although he did start 70 of the 83 games he played in for three teams over six seasons. He now finds himself in legal trouble, however.
Jake Matthews: 6th pick, Atlanta Falcons — Has started every game he has played in and missed just one total in his career (during his rookie season). He was named to the Pro Bowl in 2019.
Taylor Lewan: 11th pick, Tennessee Titans — Made the Pro Bowl each year from 2016-2018 and has started 85 of the 90 games he’s played in.
Zack Martin: 16th pick, Dallas Cowboys — Was immediately converted into a guard after getting drafted and has made the Pro Bowl six times, each year from 2014-2019. He was named a First Team All Pro in four of those seasons and received second team honors the other two. He has started all 104 games he has played in.
Ja’Wuan James: 19th pick, Miami Dolphins — Has started all 65 career games he has played in but has been hampered by injury. Is now on a sizable contract with Denver.
Andrus Peat: 13th pick, New Orleans Saints: Has made three straight Pro Bowls and has started 73 of the 78 career games he has played in.
Cedric Ogbuehi: 21st pick, Cincinnati Bengals: Has made 29 starts in 57 career games with three teams.
D.J. Humphries: 24th pick, Arizona Cardinals: Has played in just 59 career games but has started all of them for the Cardinals.
Ronnie Stanley: 6th pick, Baltimore Ravens: Was named a first team All Pro and to the Pro Bowl in 2019 and has started all 62 career games he has appeared in.
Jack Conklin: 8th pick, Tennessee Titans: Was named a first team All Pro in 2016 and 2020 (he joined the Cleveland Browns for the 2020 season) and has started all 72 of his career games.
Laremy Tunsil: 13th pick, Miami Dolphins: His career got off to a bit of an inauspicious start, but he has made two straight Pro Bowls after being traded to the Houston Texans and has started all 72 career games he has appeared in.
Taylor Decker: 16th pick, Detroit Lions: While he hasn’t achieved the lofty success of the other first-round tackles from this draft, he has started all 70 career games he has appeared in.
Garett Bolles: 20th pick, Denver Broncos: Bolles has had a bevy of ups and downs already in his career, but he was named Second Team All-Pro after the 2020 season and signed a big contract extension. He has started all 63 career games he has appeared in.
Ryan Ramcyzk: 32nd pick, New Orleans Saints: Was named First Team All-Pro in 2019 and received second team honors in 2018 and 2020. He has started all 63 career games he has appeared in.
Mike McGlinchey, 9th pick, San Francisco 49ers
Kolton Miller, 15th pick, Oakland (Las Vegas) Raiders
Jonah Williams, 11th pick, Cincinnati Bengals
Andre Dillard, 22nd pick, Philadelphia Eagles
Tytus Howard, 23rd pick, Houston Texans
Kaleb McGary, 31st pick, Atlanta Falcons
Andrew Thomas, 4th pick, New York Giants
Jedrick Wills, 10th pick, Cleveland Browns
Mekhi Becton, 11th pick, New York Jets
Tristan Wirfs, 13th pick, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Austin Jackson, 18th pick, Miami Dolphins
Isaiah Wilson, 29th pick, Tennessee Titans