Taylor Lewan was the first former Michigan player taken in the 2014 NFL Draft—no big surprise there. The former All-American Wolverines left tackle is 6’7” and 309 pounds of mean meant for Sunday consumption.
Needless to say, he’ll probably have a fine career with the Tennessee Titans, who used the No. 11 overall pick to snag one of the Maize and Blue’s greatest blind-siders.
There wasn’t really a question about Michael Schofield's draft ability—it was more of a question of when he'd be taken. A projected late-rounder, the 6’7,” 301-pound right tackle was expected to go in the fifth, sixth or possibly even seventh.
But he didn’t; he was selected in the third, No. 95 overall, by the Denver Broncos, who are looking to add depth and skill to their shifting offensive line.
Perhaps the “perfect” pick in regards to skill set and style, Jeremy Gallon was taken off the board in the seventh round by the New England Patriots, who are led by former Wolverines quarterback Tom Brady.
The Pats have had great success with undersized underdogs. And at 5’8” and 185 pounds, Gallon is a small target who can provide large, and familiar, rewards for The Hoodie and Tom Terrific.
A speedster with glue-trap hands, he’ll be difficult to replace as Team 135 moves toward fall.
So will Lewan and Schofield, who were also part of Team 134’s senior backbone in 2013.
Plug in for Lewan?
Left tackle is a big deal, especially in Ann Arbor. It takes a true football player—in every sense of the word—to handle the position for Brady Hoke, who’ll undoubtedly reference Lewan’s play for years to come.
And why not? Lewan set the current bar. Now it’s up to players such as Erik Magnuson, a 6'6," 295-pound sophomore, and Mason Cole, a 6'5," 284-pound frosh, to step in and give Lewan-esque protection to their quarterback and running back.
Magnuson is nursing a right shoulder injury and missed spring ball. Joey Burzynski, a senior, along with David Dawson, who redshirted in 2013, could be options too. For the entire roster, visit TheWolverine.com.
As of now, Michigan's O-line is questionable. The level of talent isn't, but the level of consistency, and lack of it, most certainly remains heavy in discussion. Hoke and Darrell Funk have recruited 4- and 5-star guys for three years. It's about time for one of them to take center stage (or left tackle) and produce.
Note: The LT/RT candidates are essentially interchangeable at the moment. A clearer picture of who's going where will be apparent this summer.
So Long, Schofield
Now with a year behind him, Logan Tuley-Tillman could be among favorites to win the right tackle spot. He’s a natural left tackle, but at 6’7” and 290 pounds, he’s too big to ignore.
Plus he was one of the best O-line recruits of 2013, so he has that working for him.
At 6'6" and 319 pounds, Ben Braden is another who's "too big to ignore." This guy doesn't miss many meals, and the Wolverines need a big-bodied people-mover in the trenches. Braden's of that caliber. In 2013, he got his feet wet while lugging reps in the middle of the line.
He should benefit from that experience in 2014 and emerge as a true contender for Schofield's old job.
Going to Miss Gallon
Excitement-wise, Gallon is almost irreplaceable. He wasn't Denard Robinson, but he gave Team 134 that special feeling of "what's going to happen next?" each time he touched the ball this past season.
With a record 369 yards against Indiana, the ex-slot man caught his way into the record books and into the hearts of fans.
If there was ever a player who left it all on the field, it was Gallon, who wasn't supposed to get drafted, per CBS.
Freddy Canteen, a 6'1," 170-pound frosh, seems like the logical successor; and after a dynamic spring game, he's earned that distinction. Freddy Footwork, as he'll soon be dubbed if he hasn't been already, arrived in Ann Arbor as a modestly rated 3-star recruit, per 247Sports.
It seems as if the scouts may have missed on that one. But that's OK. Michigan's coaching staff, particularly Hoke and offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier, probably doesn't mind having a "so-so" prospect.
Oh, those star rankings. What do they know anyway?!
Canteen's the guy until someone beats him. And as of right now, there doesn't appear to be many ready for that challenge. However, once healthy, expect Drake Harris, a 6'4" 190-pound frosh, to make things interesting.
Well, the headline says "drafted," but here's a quick mention of other former Wolverines who are getting pro looks. For more info, check out Josh Henschke's post on Maize 'n Brew, which tracks the UDFA crowd.
Thomas Gordon (S): Signed contract with New York Giants
Jibreel Black (DL): Mini-camp invite, Pittsburgh Steelers, per the Detroit Free Press' Mark Snyder
Cam Gordon (LB): Unspecified invite, New England Patriots
Fitz Toussaint (RB): Tryout, Baltimore Ravens, per MLive.com's Nick Baumgardner (via Henschke)
Quinton Washington (DT): Tryout, Oakland Raiders
Willie Henry and Ondre Pipkins are in line to take over for Washington. Derrick Green and De'Veon Smith are ready to pick up Toussaint's role. Linebacker is deep for Michigan, so no real concern there. Black's departure impacts the D-line, but it doesn't cripple it.
Follow Bleacher Report’s Michigan Wolverines football writer Adam Biggers on Twitter @AdamBiggers81
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