Would the Pittsburgh Steelers really draft a tackle in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft? If so, would they really consider drafting Michigan left tackle Taylor Lewan?
According to Jeremy Fowler, a national college football reporter for CBS Sports, the Steelers have done a lot of research on Lewan and that includes several team representatives going in and out of Ann Arbor, MI. Head coach Mike Tomlin was named by Fowler as being one of those representatives.
Hearing the #Steelers have done a lot of research on OT Taylor Lewan, with several team folks (Tomlin included) in and out of Ann Arbor.
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerCBS) March 25, 2014
Lewan was recently charged with one count of aggravated assault and two counts of assault or assault and battery stemming from an incident on Dec. 1, 2013 and is currently scheduled to be arraigned on April 8 in the 15th District Court in Ann Arbor. If he is found guilty, Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com reports he could face up to 93 days in jail or a fine of up to $500.
It is unknown how much Lewan’s stock has dropped since the charges were filed, but the left tackle has denied that he assaulted anyone.
“I wasn’t in any fight of any kind,” he said. “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. I might seem that way because of the way I play football, but that’s not who I am as a person.”
Lewan was named the Big Ten’s offensive lineman of the year the past two seasons after starting 48 games at left tackle. As previously reported, Gil Brandt of NFL.com said that both Tomlin and new Steelers offensive line coach Mike Munchak were present at the recent Michigan Pro Day, so that’s worth noting once again. However, in addition to watching Lewan, both could have been there to observe Michigan’s other tackle, Michael Schofield, go through his workout as well.
Dating back to 2010, the Steelers have spent two first and two second round draft picks on offensive linemen. Starting right tackle Marcus Gilbert is heading into the final year of his rookie contract, however, and while he has improved since he was drafted, he is still very inconsistent.
In addition to Gilbert, reserve tackle Mike Adams floundered in 2013 when given the chance to start the season at left tackle and was eventually benched in favor of Kelvin Beachum, who was drafted by the Steelers in the seventh-round of the 2012 NFL Draft. As the team sits here in March, Beachum would figure to open up training camp as the starting left tackle thanks to his play in the second half of the 2013 season.
Even if Lewan’s stock were to drop, it would surprising to see him fall out of the first round entirely. If the Steelers stay put at the 15th overall spot, that’s when they would have to draft him if they are as interested in him as Fowler’s report suggest.