ZACH KAPONO WILSON & PENEI SEWELL - The 1st players of Pacific Islands heritage to be picked in the 2021 NFL Draft
Round 1 of the NFL Draft kicked off earlier this evening with the 86th annual meeting of NFL franchises to select newly eligible players for the 2021 season.
There were 2x Top 10 Draft picks of Pacific Islands heritage.
Zach Kapono Wilson who is of Native Hawaiian heritage and Penei Sewell who was born and raised in American Samoa.
Similar to Hawaiian born Marcus Mariota who is of Samoan heritage, Zach was picked by the New York Jets 2nd overall in the 2021 draft!
Wilson played in 30 career games for BYU with 28 starts and is the youngest freshman quarterback to ever start for the Cougars. In 2020 he earned Pro Football Focus All-America Second Team, Phil Steele All-America honorable mention, Co-Polynesian College Football Player of the Year and finished No. 8 in the Heisman Trophy voting.
He is one of six siblings and grew up in Utah. His first love wasn't football but basketball and for most of his youth his father took him to basketball tournaments around the US.
His middle name "Kapono" means righteous and is a nod to his Hawaiian heritage.
In his final year as a Cougar, the 21 year old broke BYU legend Steve Young's completion percentage record and also earned an overall passing grade of 95.5 from PFF.
“With the No.7 overall pick in The 2021 NFL Draft, The Detroit Lions select Offensive Lineman Penei Sewell”
Penei Sewell’s improbable journey to the NFL began on the floor of a one-room shack in American Samoa. The award-winning Oregon offensive lineman tells Geoff Schwartz what will make him great at the next level - and the NFL star he can’t wait to line up against in the video below.
Going into the draft he had an impressive record and was touted as one of hte top prospects in the NFL draft and a generational talent.
He was the first person of Pasifika Heritage and the 1st in Oregon Football History to win the 2019 Outland Trophy awarded to the best college football interior lineman in the United States, as judged by the Football Writers Association of America.
He allowed only 1 sack in 21 career games and is only the 3rd Oregon Duck to be Unanimous 1st Team All-American.