Michigan Football: NFL Combine Grades, Analysis and Results for Ex-Wolverines
At varying degrees, Taylor Lewan, Jeremy Gallon and Michael Schofield each entered the NFL combine at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis with something to prove.
For starters, Lewan and Schofield wanted to prove that Michigan still produces quality linemen. Not since 2008 has a Wolverines O-Liner made waves in draft pools.
Well, that was until Lewan ran a 4.87-second 40-yard dash, the fastest among his position group. He also put up 29 reps on the 225-pound press.
Off-the-field issues aside, the former All-American should be among the first taken in May's NFL draft.
Schofield ran a respectable 5.01-second 40, the sixth-fastest among O-Linemen.
Not at his quickest, Gallon ran a 4.49-second 40, the 20th-fastest among receivers.
However, there is more to combine week than 40 times. This slideshow will uncover and analyze those storylines while assessing grades to each player's performance and reported experiences.
Taylor Lewan: A-
Video of Lewan's 40 via NFL.com
Results table via CBS, which ranks Lewan as No. 9 overall prospect (No. 3 LT/OL)
Handling business in Indy with a clear head was probably the main goal for most participants. However, most participants didn't have to face questions about their alleged role in a sexual misconduct fiasco. Brendan Gibbons, Lewan's former teammate, was accused of rape in 2009.
After stalling, the case re-emerged in Janaury—and Lewan was said to have threatened and intimidated the alleged victim.
Taylor Lewan asked about Brendan Gibbons situation denies making the comments he's alleged to have made to the victim.— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) February 20, 2014
Putting together a concentrated effort amid fierce inquiry obviously wasn't an issue for Lewan, who was calm, cool and collected while dazzling at nearly every turn.
At 6'7" and 309 pounds, he's the ideal young bookend for a developing NFL O-Line. His talent can't be denied.
Michigan may have lost to South Carolina in the 2013 Outback Bowl, but Lewan most certainly handled Jadeveon Clowney, a 6'6," 274-pound defensive end who is among this year's top prospects. That one-on-one victory helped spur hype.
And after a big weekend at Lucas Oil, Lewan could be in for a shorter wait on draft day.
OT went 1-2 in 2013 draft. Why '14 class (Jake Matthews, Greg Robinson, Taylor Lewan, Cyrus Kouandjio) is top heavier http://t.co/oPrvDuQtZZ— SN's Vinnie Iyer (@vinnieiyer) February 21, 2014
Lewan is viewed by some to be a higher-end prospect than Eric Fisher, who was taken No. 1 overall by the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2013 draft.
In the market for offensive linemen, the St. Louis Rams could use the No. 2 overall pick on Lewan.
Having an inside connection probably doesn't hurt chances of that happening. Wolverines legend Jake Long, who also happens to play for the Rams, has taken the time to mentor Lewan, per Jonathan Webb of St.LouisRams.com.
Jake is a phenomenal person. He called me and texted me the moment my bowl game ended and said he’s there to help. He’s a fundamentally sound technician. He plays through the whistle and that’s one of the ways I would like to play in my career, however long it lasts.
Again, personal matters aside, Lewan is an elite-level pro prospect. That can't be debated. Based on performance and the way he handled the media, a grade of "A-" certainly fits the bill.
Jeremy Gallon: C+
Results table via CBS
Gallon wasn't overly impressive in Indy, but he came in with a 4.49 40-yard dash—not bad, but not great.
He's hit as low as 4.4 in the past.
He's also quick out of the gate.
He only measured 5'7" and weighed 185 pounds per CBS, and that'll probably cost him a few spots—not that he had rounds to lose, he'll be lucky to be drafted.
That being said, he'll be an attractive free-agent pickup for anyone looking for a lightning-quick returner with a great set of hands.
Or if they're looking for a slot receiver who can turn four yards into 40 yards in, well, about 4.4 seconds. And there's always the Steve Smith comparison.
Having a lower center of gravity could come in handy for Gallon, who deserves a grade of "C+". He most certainly made an impression, but he didn't do anything that he hasn't done before.
For reference and pure enjoyment, watch Gallon destroy the Hoosiers with 14 catches and 369 receiving yards (an obvious record).
Michael Schofield: B
Results table via CBS
With 34" arms, Schofield doesn't have the ideal, upper-echelon (36-37) leverage for an NFL tackle. However, what he lacks in reach could have been made up for with a superb 40-yard dash.
Michigan's Taylor Lewan and Michael Schofield both beat Texas A&M's Jake Matthews in the 40.— Kyle Meinke (@kmeinke) February 22, 2014
Schofield may have had a "breakout" 40, but he didn't escape from any correctional facilities:
Lol there is someone named Michael Schofield in the combine. #prisonbreak— RJ Modesitt (@RjModesitt43) February 22, 2014
Schofield discusses his experience at Lucas Oil Stadium:
At 6'6" and 301 pounds, Schofield has pro size—that's never been a question.
However, he doesn't have an obvious high-level pro skill set, and his shorter arms aren't of assistance, either. But he's quick on his feet, which would be well-suited for a high-tempo offense such as the one run by Chip Kelly's Philadelphia Eagles.
CBS projects Schofield as a fifth-rounder come draft day, which is a slightly better forecast than the pre-combine FA predictions.
Overall, this year's crop of Wolverines stood well at the NFL combine.
Lewan most certainly boosted his stock.
Again, the only issues he faces are those off the field. NFL general managers will dig for the story before offering a multimillion-dollar contract and guaranteed money.
Seeing him slip past the top 10 would be a shock. The only way that would happen is if connecting evidence pertaining to the Gibbons sexual assault case makes its way to the news between now and May 8 (2014 NFL draft day).
As for Schofield, he'll be a late addition for a team looking for a bargain.
Honestly, a fifth-round projection seems a bit generous. But his 40 time was solid, so that'll earn points. He chose not to take part in the bench press, so that may or may not impact his standing with NFL execs.
Gallon faces the most difficult road. He has to sell himself on being Mighty Mouse, not Mickey or Minny. Size limitations have clouded his career, but he's produced—6'5" or not, he gets the job done. His 40-yard wasn't "let's draft this guy" good.
But it was probably "let's have this guy workout and attend camp" good.
If you're so inclined, feel free to adjust Michigan's 2013 record to 8-6—the Wolverines got a win in Indy. Granted, it wasn't a Big Ten title victory, but it'll do for now.
Follow Bleacher Report's Michigan Wolverines football writer Adam Biggers on Twitter @AdamBiggers81
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