Is Any Duck Lineman Better than Penei Sewell?

Ryan Robertson Editorials 20 Comments

Penei Sewell had a masterful career at Oregon. He won the Outland Trophy for the nation’s best lineman, he was a consensus All-American, and he might be the best offensive lineman in school history.

Sewell has a few challengers for the title of best offensive lineman in Oregon Ducks history. The obvious contender for the top spot is Gary Zimmerman, a Pro Football Hall of Famer. Zimmerman was a left tackle, just like Sewell, and was a phenomenal edge protector, just like Sewell. Zimmerman stands as one of the greatest football players of all time, but the real question is: who would win the LT spot in a college camp between the two heavyweights? Comparing Sewell, who has yet to play a snap in the NFL, to one of the greats, isn’t fair.

Unless you compare their college tape, that is. Zimmerman was a solid player in college, but developed in the USFL before going to the NFL. As far as college players go, Sewell has an argument for being the best.

What do you think: is college Sewell better than college Zimmerman? Are there any other Oregon O-lineman who compare to the two?

Ryan Robertson
Yuma, Arizona
Top Photo By: Tom Corno

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(Soft paywall)Pac-12 athletic directors meet George Kliavkoff, consider changes to structure of the football season”

Pac 12 is considering changes including an 8 game conference schedule. And Thoughts?

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck


Now we can use the extra game to strengthen our schedule….say, play a Top-10 team!

Just kidding. This is great news and this also might be the beginning of the end of divisions?

Do we even need a conference championship game?


Technically if the playoff expansion happens then yes we would need that championship because to be eligible for one of the auto qualified spots you must be a ‘conference champion’.

my personal opinion is I like the 9 game conference but unless the rest of college football moves to it we have no incentive to play a 9 game conference. No 8 game conference has missed the playoffs.

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

IMHO…we could have the championship decided the “old” way, where the champion is the team with the most conference wins, and then with ties you have the usual tie-breaker rules come into play. One less game of wear-and-tear and potential for player injuries going into the Playoff?

Jon Joseph

EXACTLY. The SE teams understand how to game the system.

This is why the 9th conference game should happen on Championship Weekend, matching up teams by order of finish. No divisions. Assure that the 2 best teams are playing for the title.

Yes to dumping divisions and yes to a conference champ game between teams ranked 1 + 2. Like the B 12 has today but with 12 and not ten teams.

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

To clarify: my suggestion is dumping the Conference Championship game altogether. After all…isn’t that what the long conference season is for–to determine a champion through the gauntlet of eight games?

I do not disagree with your thinking if the Rose Bowl and not the BCS/Playoff was the goal. The extra data point of a champ game could well be critical when it comes to making the field and the seeding of the field.

ND not playing a champ game means ND will never be seeded higher than 5th, even if ranked #1 by the Committee prior to seeding.

And with a 12 team conference playing but 8 games and the traditional game, vs the Beavers every season in Oregon’s case, the teams that you draw will be a big factor in the final # of Ws and Ls.

I also worry that there could be significant tie-breaker issues with many teams finishing with the same record. This so happened to hurt the B 12 when TX Tech, Baylor and TCU were all decaled conference champs in the playoff’s fist year. All 3 missed the 1st playoff.

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

Another reason why I love this community; Jon you make GREAT points and they make me reconsider my thoughts on this.


Um, yes please. I’ve longed for an 8-game conference schedule, matching the SEC that gives a cupcake mid-season to each team. A 9-game schedule puts us at a HUGE disadvantage, as that would automatically create 6 more losses each year for the PAC12, thus reducing our amount of ranked teams by beating each other for nothing.

An 8-game conference schedule would allow our teams to potentially pick up an extra win. Long as they win more than 50% (and they should, as this should be a cupcake game), it only provides us an advantage.


Great argument for 8 game schedule!
“9-game schedule puts us at a HUGE disadvantage, as that would automatically create 6 more losses each year”

I haven’t heard this before! Excellent point in addition to scheduling an out of conference game mid season to give backups a chance to play more.

Jon Joseph

UD – With the Playoff going to 12 and the potential under the current scheduling to play 17 games, I think the conference should go to 8 scheduled games with the 9th game being played on Championship weekend. 1 vs 2, 3 vs 4, etc. IMO these games including the 1 vs 2 champ game match up should be played on the campuses of the higher seeded teams.

Concurrent with this drop divisions in favor of pods. Teams within a pod play every year. Pod vs pod +1 every season with outside pod games rotating. Cal, Stanford, UCLA + USC that already play one another every year form 1 pod. Oregon, OR St, UW, WA St another and AZ, ASU, CU + Utah the 3rd pod.

This format leads to the top 2 teams in the conference playing for the title eliminating the chance of an 8-5 division champ defeating the highest ranked Pac-12 team and knocking the conference out of the 12 team playoff field.


Different eras. Gary Zimmerman was a team player and outstanding football player. Oregon Hall of Fame and NFL Hall of Fame says it all.

Penei Sewell won the Outland Trophy and chased his dream to the NFL. Can’t really compare them based on a trophy. An Oregon, and NFL Hall of Fame career is probably greater than the Outland Trophy, and 2 years of college ball at the moment.

Both are outstanding football players. Penei has a long ways to go to have the type of career that Gary had.


I have way to hard of a time comparing players from different Era’s. The game has just changed way to much for their to a viable comparison. Then you add in the fact that sports Medicine, Nutrition and training have changed so much in the last 30 years that it really isn’t fair to compare.

J Duck

Also worth comparing is that back in the day guys like Dan Deardorf (All pro lineman, HOF? don’t remember) but weighed more like 260, everyone is 300 now. Game is a little different. Edge protector? Zimm was awesome, Penei too but Penei mowing down defenders at the 2nd and 3rd level on run plays…wow. Sometimes even on pass plays.

Jon Joseph

Players 9 – NCAA 0.

Supreme Court sides with the player-plaintiffs + against the NCAA, 9-0; no restrictions allowed on academic related benefits.

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

For the NFL…yet to be determined.

For college? No other offensive lineman at Oregon has won the Outland Trophy

Penei Sewell and Outland Trophy_OregonLive.jpg

I would say Penei had the greatest one season as an offensive lineman ever at Oregon. Zimmerman gave us 4 seasons to Penei’s 2.

Zimmerman became a Hall of Fame Lineman, no question Zimmerman is the best so far. Stay tuned on the Pro Career, Penei will be a monster, but Zimmerman was legendary.

College: Even
Pro: Zimmerman


College career? Sewell

Overall career? Zimmerman

You never know who’s gonna be a star!!! Some guys peak way too early and have zero room to grow (lots of SEC style players that are grown men at 13 and already 6 star recruits fit this bill). Some guys are like Dallas’ Vander Esch and wreak havok out of nowhere in the pros after being a walk on to Boise playing 8 man ball or whatever small town stuff that is.

Predicting Tyreek Hill was going to be better in the pros than his team mate De’Anthony Thomas, using just college career stats, would have been a foolish bet, yet here we are. Tyreek on the starter. DT……. gonzo.

Sometimes it’s injuries. I mean, I still have my Brian Bosworth poster because it’s kicks major 80’s a** and nobody can tell me otherwise. I also know the detrimental effects of repetitive cortisone into the soft tissues (ie – rotator cuff). So if you are all wondering where The Boz’s rotator cuff went during his pro career (season 2) at Seattle, you’re welcome.

Sometimes it’s drugs that end potential. A certain outstanding Canadian born Michigan State offensive lineman named Tony Mandarich comes to mind. Yes, I was extremely disappointed….

Regardless, time will tell. Perhaps RR, we should revisit this article in 10 years and compare the stats.


Jon Joseph

Come back Boz! Not only did he go straight and become a Sheriff, but now he fronts for a soda pop maker and not Jack Daniels.

Say it ain’t so!