He didn't go to the Pittsburgh Steelers or St. Louis Rams, but Taylor Lewan was most certainly drafted by a team that needs him: the Tennessee Titans, who, despite other concerns, could use some help on the offensive line.
And really, what team in the NFL can't use that? At 6'7" and 308 pounds, the former Michigan star has the size to play left tackle on a weekly basis for years to come. With a noted mean streak, he also has the physical ability--chip on shoulder intact--to excel in the trenches.
Sure, the Titans could have drafted a running back, safety or outside linebacker--even Sports Illustrated's mocks had Tennessee going anywhere but O-line--but they likely struck gold with Lewan, who was projected as a possible top-five or -six pick by various pundits who are always wrong.
At No. 11 overall, the Titans select Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan. Our scouting report: http://t.co/Bn4kMjvZ4l— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) May 9, 2014
Excellent agility and second-level blocking round out an otherwise polished skill set, says SI, which makes mention of Lewan's penalties and emotional outbursts. He'll have to tighten up on Sunday, but his upside is undeniably strong. If you can't see Lewan getting the job done on the Titans O-line, well...(I don't know what to say here).
Watch some Wolverines highlights. You'll get a better idea.
The above video does a great job of explaining Lewan, who could be described by words but is often better appreciated on film.
Devin Gardner probably owes Lewan a few thank yous. After all, if not for Lewan, he would have been flattened to no end. Instead, he was sacked 34 times, which happened to be the third-most in FBS. However, given Michigan's troubles up front, Gardner was a lucky customer in 2013--Lewan's presence alone counteracted at least 10 possible sacks (just an estimate).
Stat Break: Could Lewan help with these numbers (graphic via NFL.com)?
Penalties, as mentioned above, have hampered Lewan through college--and they haven't all been of the reckless nature. There have been a good portion of "duh" moves, such as false starts and holdings. In fact, if nothing else, Lewan needs to pay closer attention snap counts and other signals.
He's been made out to be a thug on the field. Yeah, he likes to throw the hands a little bit. He may shove or get in a guy's face. But those moments, by volume, don't compare to mental errors.
Of course, there is the character discussion that just won't go away. I'm not going to put it to bed just yet, but it's fair to say that the Titans did their homework and made an informed decision before green-lighting the pick.
Tennessee fans, no need to cross your fingers (not really, just get past May 19's arraignment). In all likelihood, Lewan's been misunderstood. He's just a competitor who's been painted as a menace, or so it seems.
That's the positive spin on that. But you can't spin this: He's one hell of a football player and was made to block on Sunday. Tennessee is trying to find 2008 all over again. There's no more Chris Johnson, and the franchise is struggling to find an identity.
Lewan, good with the bad, is an "identity" player.
Follow Maize 'n Brew's Adam Biggers on Twitter @AdamBiggers81