Pound-for-pound, Taylor Lewan is one of the best left tackles in the 2014 NFL draft.
According to Mel Kiper of ESPN, the former Michigan blind-sider could be the No. 2 overall pick of this year’s festivities. In late April, Kiper said the following about Lewan’s stock (via Mark Snyder of the Detroit Free Press):
If he gets down 11 to Tennessee, he’s a heck of a pick. He could go two to St. Louis. He could go somewhere in that top grouping. Buffalo at nine is another team that is looking offensive tackle. So right now, if you had to say where he ranks on the board, he would be in the top 10. I have him at eight right now on the ‘big board.’ So he’s a top-10 guy ... you can push him up to even five, if you want.
However, according to Matt Miller of Bleacher Report, Lewan, who was an All-American while with the Wolverines, could slip to No. 15 and be chosen by the Pittsburgh Steelers. That, of course, seems like a logical prediction. The Steelers are known for their mean-streaked linemen, and, at 6’7” and 309 pounds (per CBS), Lewan definitely fits the mold for the gritty AFC club.
By draft night there's a good chance Taylor Lewan is well off the board by pick No. 15, but in this "what should happen" mock, he's here for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The team had good success with Kelvin Beachum at left tackle in 2013, but realistically he's a guard. With Lewan on the left, and Beachum, Maurkice Pouncey and David DeCastro in the middle, the Steelers can keep Marcus Gilbert at right tackle and have a very good starting five.
Lewan isn't a polished blocker, but he is a great athlete at the position and has shown dominant flashes on film over the last three seasons. That's what teams are banking on in the top 15.
The gap between No. 2 and 15 is large. Lewan’s place in the draft will, in part, be determined by how teams view his character—which was called into question by The Michigan Daily, the university’s student-run newspaper which blew the lid off the Brendan Gibbons sexual-misconduct controversy back in January. According to The Daily, Lewan allegedly intimated/threatened a young woman who said that she was raped by Gibbons in 2009.
That investigation remains open. He’s innocent until proven guilty. That being said, he also faces assault charges that stem back to Michigan’s season-ending loss to Ohio State. The following Sunday morning (late Saturday night for all intents and purposes), he allegedly hit a Buckeyes fan who was walking down a street in Ann Arbor.
NFL Draft Prospect and former Michigan O-Lineman Taylor Lewan faces 2 assault chargers from incident in December. >> http://t.co/XJ0tDwEbx7— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) March 20, 2014
Lewan, who'll be arraigned May 19, addressed the situation during the NFL combine, per ESPN’s Brian Bennett:
I went over the Ohio State incident once before. I wasn't in any fight of any kind. I was actually breaking something up and some guy said that I slugged him, but that's not who I am off the field, that's not the kind of person I am.
It might seem that way because of the way I play football, but that's not the way I am as a person.
Again, character, along with work ethic and attitude, should come into play on draft day. Lewan had a great career in Ann Arbor and leaves as one of the all-time best Wolverines left tackles. Miller's prediction of No. 15 overall, at the moment, seems to be right in the ballpark.
Don't be surprised to see Lewan taken before that point, though.
Scoop on Schofield
Michael Schofield was ying to Lewan's yang: They completed the line, just at opposite ends. As the right tackle, Schofield often performed at All-Big Ten levels. However, he was never officially given the distinction of being all-conference.
Here lies an issue: There is a three-round, not three-pick, discrepancy in the two predictions. Schofield recently impressed during workouts, so he could go sooner than later. But of course, that won't be known until the draft, which starts Thursday in New York City.
OL Michael Schofield recorded a 9-foot broad jump, greatly improving upon his 7 feet, 8 inch mark from the NFL Combine.— Michigan Football (@umichfootball) March 12, 2014
Filling up on Gallon
Jeremy Gallon leaves Michigan as a fan favorite. With athleticism teeming from his pores, the 5'8," 185-pound athlete would add a certain X-factor feeling to just about any NFL offense.
Who has the most upside?
Of course, he's small—and that'll be a roadblock, but not something that he can't/won't overcome. He's already done that for years. Nothing new to see here.
As a senior slot, Gallon provided all kinds of "wow" in the absence of Denard Robinson, who graduated in 2013 and now plays for the Jacksonville Jaguars. With 14 catches against Indiana this past fall, Gallon, an All-Big Ten selection, set a school record with 369 yards. His reception total was the second-most.
As a whole, Michigan's offense was dreadful for most of the season. However, Gallon, as much in the same way as Robinson, was a threat to score each time he touched the ball. But that doesn't mean he'll get drafted. Miller doesn't have a team going for Gallon.
He's off to free-agent land, or so it seems. CBS was kind to Schofield and Lewan, but it doesn't project Gallon in the draft.
With players such as Gallon, greatness is in the eye of the beholder. There's no doubting his potential. He's incredibly nimble and has a fantastic set of mitts that will likely catch a few balls on Sunday.
To NFL scouts, Jeremy Gallon is a 5th or 6th round guy. To U-M fans, he was more than "just a 5th round guy". Column: http://t.co/mF5kt3V3vc— Joshua Henschke (@JoshuaHenschke) May 5, 2014
Follow Bleacher Report's Michigan Wolverines football writer Adam Biggers on Twitter @AdamBiggers81