After adding running back Roschon Johnson and wide receiver Tyler Scott in the fourth round, the Bears returned to the defensive side of the ball, selecting LB Noah Sewell. Coincidentally, the fifth-round pick was obtained from the Ravens for LB Roquan Smith at last year’s trade deadline. Like Smith, Sewell plays on the inside.
Sewell is a throwback, physical linebacker who is strong at the point of attack. The 21-year-old has good instincts against the run and is good at anticipating where the running back is going on zone runs to make plays outside of his gap. Bears fans will love his nose for the ball and the way he hits. Sewell is also adept at stripping the ball from a carrier’s hands.
Like several of Chicago’s picks this weekend, Sewell was a 5-star recruit before he signed with Oregon.
Here is Sewell’s pre-draft analysis from The Draft Network.
“As a prospect, Sewell has a lot to like. He has very good size and above-average overall athleticism for the position. He aligns as the MIKE backer in the Oregon defense but is moved all across the formation seeing snaps at EDGE and in the slot in coverage. As a run defender, Sewell is an aggressive downhill player who thrives in the box.”
Here’s what ESPN said about Sewell:
- Sewell is strong, has a low center of gravity, and anchors well. He’s a powerful striker between the tackles, and he stacks and sheds tight ends. He reads the quarterback and flashes above-average ball skills in underneath coverage.
- The Oregon linebacker was a two-time Dick Butkus Award semifinalist and could be utilized in several rotational roles in Chicago. While the majority of his snaps (65%) came lined up as a middle linebacker, Sewell also had 500 career snaps at outside linebacker and over 100 as a slot cornerback.
- NFL Comp: Dont’a Hightower
Bears go with Oregon LB Noah Sewell at pick No. 148.
Per @dpbrugler: "He thumps downhill with the physicality, pedigree and competitive spirit to make plays between the tackles. He projects as a rookie backup who can become a valuable role player."
— Kevin Fishbain (@kfishbain) April 29, 2023
The Bears loaded up on linebackers in free agency, signing best-in-class players Tremaine Edmunds and T.J. Edwards. They join returning sophomore Jack Sanborn, and Sewell gives them a solid depth piece. He’s the younger brother of LT Penei Sewell of the Lions.
Sewell was a force for the Ducks in his first two seasons, but 2022 proved to be a less-than-stellar year for the linebacker. He put on too much weight, was slower because of it, and his production dropped. GM Ryan Poles is an obvious believer in Sewell’s potential, however. Sewell recorded 55 tackles with 1.5 sacks, one interception, and three pass breakups last year.
That makes his evaluation difficult, to say the least. Is Chicago getting the playmaking linebacker of 2020-21, or will Sewell’s regression continue at the next level? Despite the weight gain, Sewell displayed impressive instincts and vision to get in position to make plays. He looks comfortable in space, showing smooth agility to drop into coverage and cover ground. Previous to ’22, Sewell displayed serious speed to break on receivers and eat up ground in a hurry. He’s also a competent tackler with pro-level size and strength.
If Sewell returns to his 2021 form, he could turn into a good starter at the pro level. He’ll enter camp as a backup with an opportunity to help on special teams.