Taylor Lewan, LT, Michigan (HT: 6'7"; WT: 309 lbs.)
First Round: 11th Pick
NFL Comparison: Nate Solder, LT, New England Patriots
- Built like the prototypical picture of an NFL offensive tackle.
- Played in multiple concepts at Michigan and was able to put on tape a number of extremely promising NFL attributes.
- One of very few "bright spots" NFL evaluators could point to when reviewing film of Michigan's 2013 offensive line play.
- Tenacious and tough, he played games with blood dripping down his face from skin worn raw where the helmet meets the forehead.
- Has long arms, which he uses to create distance in engagement.
- Allows himself maximum time to reset upon identifying the opponent's chosen path to the quarterback in pass protection.
- In the run game, has a great first step upfield and a surge out of his three-point stance, which pops off the screen at times.
- Does not accomplish the task through the same fundamental avenues as fellow 2014 tackle prospect Jake Matthews, but his knack for "controlling the edge" is, at times, apparent and clear.
- Clearly very powerful and hard to deal with as a defender.
- Above-average footwork.
- Has shown a swivel through the hips and awareness in his bucket step to feel where pressure is coming from.
- Genuinely seems to play angry.
- Extremely impressive combine performance.
- Ran the fastest 40-yard dash of any offensive lineman in attendance at 4.87 seconds.
- Finished in the top 20 percent of all offensive linemen in the bench press, registering 29 reps at 225 pounds.
- Will occasionally shift his weight toward the heel of his foot when resetting after kicks in pass protection.
- Shows momentary struggles with balance backward, allowing defenders to rip under a tackle's chest plate with inside rush moves.
- Has a strong punch move but will sometimes miss the mark.
- Instead of delivering an initial powerful blow, will sometimes become overextended forward.
- Susceptible to the bull-jerk and a plethora of other pass-rush moves designed to capitalize on out-of-control forward momentum by the offensive tackle.
- Evaluators will worry about an occasional tendency to hold—throughout engagement—the widened base created by kick slide to establish initial proper depth.
- Sloppy habits can lead to circumstances that create overextension and bad positioning.
- Does not engage defenders at the second level with good leverage.
- Is often a step late in getting to linebackers on the back of play designs.
- Intensity and motor can wear off through games.
- Tends to play down to level of competition.
Personal Notes: (via Michigan Athletic Department)
- Taylor Curtis Lewan was born July 21, 1991.
- Father, Dave, was an offensive lineman at Minnesota.
- High school teammate of former UM defensive end Craig Roh.
- Enrolled in the College of Literature, Science and the Arts, majoring in general studies.
Lewan falls into a different category than the top two offensive tackles in the draft—Jake Matthews and Greg Robinson—but clearly still presents an above-average option for NFL teams looking for immediate tackle help that will stand to improve—and possibly become dominant—with time and development in an NFL offensive system. At one of the most important positions in the game, a talent of Lewan's caliber with room to grow through a 6'7" frame represents a tremendous future asset—and one certainly worth investing in with a very early NFL draft pick.
Draft Projection: 1st Round
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