Friday, May 4, 2012

Taylor Lewan- First Round Pick in the 2013 NFL Draft?

The Situation
Outside of a few "interesting" rumblings that hinted at possible early departures from Denard Robinson and JT Floyd (-_-), the Wolverines have not had to worry about players leaving for the NFL Draft. However, if ridiculously early NFL Drafts prospect rankings, or Mel Kiper's opinion matter at all, Taylor Lewan may be in Radio City as early as next April. Kiper recently said Lewan was definitely one of his "Five-Star Guys," and after watching Taylor's progression over the past three years, we definitely agree that he has elite NFL potential.
Where do we think Taylor projects? What could it mean for the Wolverines in 2013?

Taylor seems like he is thoroughly enjoying the college life, is very passionate about the Wolverines, and loves facing off with MSU's Will Gholston (another potential 2013 first-rounder) on the field to-boot. He may want to stay in Ann Arbor as long as he can, and depending on this season's outcome, he may feel like he has some unfinished business at Michigan. With that being said, Taylor will probably have a college degree in hand, three years of starting experience at LT, and a solid first round draft grade. Obviously, there is no way to determine what Lewan will be thinking, but we think he will be shaking Roger Goodell's hand come April, 2013. 
Tommy Gholston's Frustration
The Projection
Michigan fans are quick to compare Lewan to former #77 First Round pick, Jake Long, but I do not believe that is an apt comparison. Taylor still looks "skinny" for an offensive lineman, and he is able to dominate his opponent through his superior athleticism. Lewan has great length at the position, and as we all know, has an endless supply of aggression. He displays great agility but will have to work to add a great amount of strength and mass in order to become an elite NFL lineman. In my opinion, Taylor Lewan is very reminiscent of 2011 New England Patriots first round pick, Nate Solder from Colorado. Solder is also a very tall, "thin" tackle prospect that has found early success in the NFL due to his ability to mirror defensemen with great foot speed, balance, and athleticism. Solder actually started his career at Tight-End, and after adding over 30lbs, he is protecting future Hall-of-Famer, Tom Brady. In conclusion, Lewan is a very,very enthusiastic player that will never be out-worked by his opponent, and we think Taylor can easily find himself in the first round of next year's NFL Draft after a full year in Strength and Conditioning Coach Aaron Wellman's program. 
The Ramifications 
Obviously, Taylor's hypothetical entry in the NFL Draft would not help the Wolverine's 2013 campaign, but it does not necessarily spell doom, either. First, placing linemen in the NFL draft will pay off dividends in recruiting efforts for years to come. Many OL recruits from across the nation mention Jake Long when they are asked about Michigan, and Taylor Lewan's recent surge could have similar benefits. Additionally, I truly believe that if Lewan departs, current RT Mike Schofield will slide over to LT. He  has prototypical measureables for protecting the quarterback's blind-side at 6'7", and he has displayed the ability to effectively play multiple positions along the OL thus far in his career. Schofield will be the Wolverine's most experienced lineman, and I believe he, too, will garner a hefty amount of NFL attention after his RS Senior year. Michigan's 2012 and 2013 OL classes also help to quell the fears of Lewan's absence. Michigan signed 4 (or 5 if you include AJ Williams) high-level OL in 2012, and they have secured verbal commitments of 5 elite prospects in 2013.

Michigan's 2013 OL Depth Chart may look something like this in 2013... Feel any better?

First Second Third
LT Mike Schofield,
RS Senior
Chris Fox,
Logan Tuley-Tillman,
LGKyle Kalis,
Kyle Bosch,

C Jack Miller,
RS Sophomore
Patrick Kugler,

RG Chris Bryant,
RS Sophomore
Erik Magnuson,
RS Freshman
Blake Bars,
RS Freshman
RT Ben Braden,
Sophomore/RS Freshman
David Dawson,

(Add AJ Williams too....Come on now...He's huge...)

This ridiculously early portrayal of an OL Depth Chart will most likely not be an accurate portrayal of the positions of every prospect, but the point is that Michigan will finally have a complete 2-Deep of elite scholarship players even in the absence of Taylor Lewan. I obviously hope that Taylor stays, because he is a great leader and a phenomenal player, but I expect him to enter the NFL draft after this season. 


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