Categorized | 2014 Draft, Article

Steelers 2014 NFL Draft Player Profiles – Michigan T Taylor Lewan


Good friend Dave-Te’ Thomas of Scouting Services has finished his player profiles of several of the top 2014 NFL Draft prospects and over the course of the next few weeks I will be posting the ones that the Pittsburgh Steelers will more than likely have interest in. While Michigan tackle Taylor Lewan hasn’t been reported as making a pre draft visit to Pittsburgh, the Steelers appear to have done their homework on him just in case he falls to them in the first round. They have some level of interest in him and they were present for his Pro Day. Today it’s time to post his profile that was prepared by Thomas, who has done these for the NFL for several years now.

TAYLOR CURTIS LEWAN
Offensive Tackle
University of Michigan Wolverines
#77
6:07.1-309
Cave Creek, Arizona
Chaparral High School
Cactus Shadows High School

OVERVIEW

The emotionally charged offensive tackle is the type that coaches and teammates love, but opponents hate, as his mantra when he steps on the football field is – take no prisoners.

While there are times where his aggression will lead to costly penalties, even the defensive linemen that combat him each week have the utmost respect for Lewan, knowing that he is the type of opponent that will leave everything out on the football fields.

They say imitation is the greatest form of flattery and a former Wolverine offensive tackle legend is flattered that scouts and coaches are constantly comparing Lewan’s style of play and exceptional athletic ability to that of current St. Louis Rams left tackle, Jake Long. Comparing the two shows very similar styles and paths taken.

Both started as redshirt freshmen for the Wolverines at left tackle. Both wear No. 77 and both are imposing physical athletes – Lewan at 6-foot-6 and Long at 6-foot-8. But Lewan understands that any comparisons are thanks to the hard work ethic that the Wolverine senior has put forward, again similar to than of Long.

The two linemen actually met during Lewan’s freshman year on the sideline during the Ohio State game in Ann Arbor. “He’s just standing there, and he’s a very large individual,” Lewan said. “I had my shoulder pads on and he was still wider than me. It was a little bit ridiculous.” Long was the first overall pick of the 2008 NFL Draft and anchored the Miami Dolphins line before joining the Rams last season.

Lewan remembers that he received a short, simple message from his predecessor. “You better do something with that number,” Long told him. With three All-American selections and a trio of All-Big Ten Conference honors, Lewan has more than lived up to the message sent to him three years ago.

Lewan was a highly sought after recruit who first began his prep career as a defensive end while lettering three times at Cactus Shadows High School. As a sophomore, he posted 50 tackles and five sacks, followed by 46 tackles and two sacks during his junior year. As a senior, he was on the move, first, transferring to Chaparral High School and then to the offensive line, where he helped lead his team to the Class 4A-I state championship game in 2008.

The move to the offensive line thrust Lewan to near the top of the recruiting charts. He received a four-star prospect grade from Rivals.com, as that recruiting service named him the fifth-best player in the state of Arizona, the 194th-best player nationally, the third-most athletic offensive lineman and the fifth-most agile offensive lineman in the high school ranks.

Lewan was also accorded four-star status from Scout.com, as the Super Prep All-American was rated as the tenth-best overall offensive line prospect by that service. The Under Armour All-American game participant was the recipient of the 2008 Frank Kush Award, given to the state of Arizona’s top interior offensive lineman. The Arizona Republic and East Valley Tribune placed him on their all-state first teams and he also received Desert Sky first-team All-Region accolades at Chaparral High.

In his first season playing with the varsity at Michigan, Lewan earned Freshman All-American honors from College Football News. He began the 2010 campaign performing in the goal-line package, but by the Wolverines’ fourth game on the schedule, vs. Bowling Green, he took over left tackle duties and would not relinquish the position for Michigan’s next forty-nine games.

When Brady Hoke arrived to take over as the Wolverines’ head coach in 2011, he met with each of his new players. His meeting with Taylor Lewan went longer than most. The topic?

Cut down on the penalties. “I knew it was coming,” said Lewan, who had rapidly gained the reputation for punishing defensive linemen as punishing his own team during their 7-6 2010 campaign. “You can’t watch last year’s film without noticing there were some penalties, and I’ll take part of that blame. I’ll put that on me a little bit.”

Lewan had started seven regular-season games as a red-shirt freshman and was imposing from the start. But he also had to be lifted from multiple games as his temper got the better of him. He finished with seven penalties and two personal fouls in that span and the team failed to pick up another first down after six of those penalties. The seventh came on an extra-point attempt.

Lewan said being a smarter player is part of growing up. “I’m an old man now. This is ridiculous. My knees hurt now,” Lewan quipped. “Just got to be smart, learn the game of football. Looking back on it, I didn’t know anything about the game (last year).”

Lewan still remains a physical force at tackle. He’s gregarious and eccentric (remember that finger-stache in 2011?). He’s likeable, honest, sharp, hilarious — and flat-out nasty up front. But, he realized under Hoke that if he hoped to ever become a first-round draft pick, that he would have to play under control. Seemingly the only things holding him back were his emotions and discipline.

As for the finger-stache – Lewan gained cult status among some of the Michigan football followers after a short interview where he displayed a tattoo of a mustache he has on the inside of his right index finger. In the interview, he displayed how the tattoo should be used, putting his finger on his upper lip, taking on an English gentleman voice and saying: “Listen Miss, I just wanna dance!”

With coach and player both agreeing with the assessment, Lewan went back to doing what he does best. “There’s no better feeling than taking one guy from one place and pushing him somewhere else against his will,” he said. With his left tackle dominating in the trenches, where he produced twelve touchdown-resulting blocks, Hoke’s first season at Michigan in 2011 ended with an 11-2 record and a berth in the Sugar Bow, as his left tackle received All-Big Ten Conference recognition.

In 2012, Lewan was a consensus All-American first-team choice and named the Big Ten Conference’s Offensive Lineman of the Year. He registered a league-high seventeen-touchdown resulting blocks along with pacing the conference with 128 knockdowns. The team gained 4,980 yards (383.08 ypc) in total offense and the line matched their previous season’s figure by allowing only eighteen sacks.

As a senior, Lewan was again the Big Ten’s Offensive Lineman of the Year and repeated his selection on most All-American teams. The young offense with a new quarterback went through some “growing pains” in 2013, slipping to a 7-6 record, but the left tackle was his old, dominating self, delivering eighteen touchdown-resulting blocks, a remarkable feat, considering the running corps was held to just 125.69 yards per game, the lowest average during the senior’s four seasons in the lineup.

CAREER NOTES

Lewan started his final forty-nine games at left tackle for Michigan, recording 362 key blocks/knockdowns…In fifty-two contests, he also registered 55 touchdown-resulting blocks…Also gained eleven yards after scooping up the ball and advancing it vs. Purdue in 2010…The tackle is only the ninth Michigan offensive lineman to be a starter for four seasons for the Maize and Blue.

SEASON ANALYSIS

2013 SEASON

Michigan head coach Brady Hoke announced before the season that Lewan, Courtney Avery, Cam Gordon and Jake Ryan had been elected captains of the 2013 football team by a vote of their teammates. It marked just the third time in Michigan Football history the team had four captains. “I think all of our seniors have done a great job of leading since we started the season in January, and the team did a great job of voting four guys who are extremely deserving of being named captains of Team 134,” said Hoke. “They all are great examples of team leaders.”…Lewan was named Big Ten Conference Offensive Lineman of the Year for the second consecutive season…He added first-team All-American honors from Sporting News and was a second-team choice by The NFL Draft Report, Walter Camp, Associated Press, CBSSports.com and Sports Illustrated…For the third-straight year, he was an All-Big Ten Conference first-team choice by the league’s coaches and a .. semifinalist for the Rotary Lombardi Award…The Hugh R. Rader Memorial Award (given to U-M’s top offensive lineman) started all thirteen games at left tackle, grading 87.5% for blocking consistency, as he delivered 103 key blocks/knockdowns and produced eighteen touchdown-resulting blocks, along with seven key blocks down field…Even though the front wall ranked 105th in the nation after allowing 36 sacks for losses of 270 yards, the left tackle yielded just one sack, but was penalized five times, including having a trio of flags tossed his way in the Michigan State clash…The offense generated 4,855 total yards and 1,634 yards rushing, both the lowest figures during Lewan’s four seasons as a starter for the Wolverines…Despite the low offensive output, Lewan helped the Wolverines gain at least 400 yards in five contests, including a season-high 751 yards vs. Indiana and 603 vs. a formidable Ohio State defense.

2012 SEASON

Lewan was a consensus All-American first-team selection, receiving that honor from The NFL Draft Report, Walter Camp, Associated Press, ESPN.com and Sports Illustrated, as he earned the first of the two Big Ten Rimington-Pace Offensive Lineman of the Year Awards he would receive during his Wolverines career…The All-Big Ten Conference first-team selection by the league’s coaches and media, he was also the recipient of the Hugh R. Rader Memorial Award…Posted a career-high 128 knockdowns, the most for any blocker in the league during 2012…Also registered seventeen touchdown-resulting blocks and graded 88.8% for blocking consistency…Led a strong offensive line effort that yielded only eighteen sacks up front, none by the junior left tackle…The Wolverines gained 4,980 yards that included 2,389 yards (183.77 ypg) by the ground unit…Experienced every lineman’s dream when he scored a touchdown, recovering a fumble by quarterback Denard Robinson in the end zone with 0:19 left in the first half of the Massachusetts clash. It was the first touchdown recorded by a Michigan offensive lineman since center Bob Erben was credited with a score vs. Northwestern in 1948.

2011 SEASON

Lewan started all thirteen games at left tackle, leading the Sugar Bowl champions with 82 knockdown blocks and twelve touchdown-resulting blocks, receiving first-team All-Big Ten Conference honors from The NFL Draft Report and second-team accolades from the league’s coaches…Played a major role for an offense that ranked second in the Big Ten and 13th in the nation with a rushing average of 221.85 yards per game…Helped pave the way for a pair of 1,000-yard rushers (Denard Robinson and Fitzgerald Toussaint), the first time a Michigan team had two 1,000-yard ball carriers in the same season since 1975… Cleared out rush lanes for a ground unit that generated 376 yards rushing vs. Eastern Michigan, 320 yards with four scoring runs vs. San Diego State and 363 yards with three touchdowns vs. Minnesota during a three-game stretch.

2010 SEASON

Lewan was named to the College Football News’ Freshman All-American second-team after he appeared in eleven games, starting nine contests at left tackle…Missed the Wisconsin clash after he suffered a concussion vs. Purdue…Finished with forty-nine knockdowns and eight touchdown-resulting blocks…Played on the team’s goal line package before taking over left tackle duties in Michigan’s fourth game vs. Bowling Green…Led the way as the Wolverines racked up a school-record 6,011 offensive yards during the regular season (500.9 avg.), topping the previous mark of 5,807 yards attained in 2003…Michigan had one of the nation’s most balanced offenses, leading the Big Ten in rushing (251.1 ypg) and finishing second in passing (249.8 ypg).

2009 SEASON

Lewan red-shirted and did not see game action during his first season at Michigan.

OFF-FIELD ISSUES

In early December, 2013, an Ohio State fan alleges Lewan assaulted him. The Michigan offensive tackle was questioned by Ann Arbor police after an Ohio State fan said he was assaulted outside a downtown restaurant on November 30th, the Detroit Free Press reported. The alleged assault took place after Michigan’s 42-41 loss to Ohio State that day. Police were still investigating in late December and would not comment. Lewan has yet to be charged or arrested. Ryan Munsch, 29, of Columbus, Ohio, told the Free Press and other media outlets that Lewan assaulted him and a friend in Ann Arbor. He said Lewan punched the friend, then hit Munsch in the face, knocked him to the ground and kicked him in the ribs.

David Root, manager of The Brown Jug restaurant, told the Free Press that police viewed surveillance camera video footage that apparently was inconclusive. Root did not see the alleged incident but witnessed an ambulance pulling away and police speaking with Lewan afterward. Michigan coach Brady Hoke would not comment on the allegations.

INJURY REPORT

2010 Season…Lewan missed the Wisconsin game after suffering a concussion vs. Purdue.

AGILITY TESTS

4.87 in the 40-yard dash…1.71 10-yard dash…2.84 20-yard dash…4.49 20-yard shuttle…7.39 three-cone drill…30 ½-inch vertical jump…9’-9” broad jump…Bench pressed 225 pounds 29 times…33 7/8-inch arm length…9 ¼-inch hands…79 7/8-inch wingspan.

HIGH SCHOOL

Lewan attended Cactus Shadows (Phoenix, Az.) High School for three seasons before transferring to local Chaparral High School for his senior season…First began his prep career as a defensive end…As a sophomore, he posted 50 tackles and five sacks, followed by 46 tackles and two sacks during his junior year…At Chaparral High, Lewan moved to the offensive line, where he helped lead his team to the Class 4A-I state championship game in 2008…Received a four-star prospect grade from Rivals.com, as that recruiting service named him the fifth-best player in the state of Arizona, the 194th-best player nationally, the third-most athletic offensive lineman and the fifth-most agile offensive lineman in the high school ranks…Also accorded four-star status from Scout.com, as the Super Prep All-American was rated as the tenth-best overall offensive line prospect by that service…The Under Armour All-American game participant was the recipient of the 2008 Frank Kush Award, given to the state of Arizona’s top interior offensive lineman…The Arizona Republic and East Valley Tribune placed him on their all-state first teams and he also received Desert Sky first-team All-Region accolades at Chaparral High.

PERSONAL

Lewan (pronounced La-wan) is enrolled in the College of Literature, Science and the Arts, majoring in general studies…Lewan’s father, Dave, was an offensive lineman at the University of Minnesota. Dave Lewan played High School Football for Oakridge S.S., in London, Ontario, Canada, when his father’s job took him to London from Minnesota…

Born Taylor Curtis Lewan on 7/21/91 in Scottsdale, Arizona…Resides in Cave Creek, Arizona.

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  • Toddy Bravo

    I just can’t bring myself to believe that the Steelers would use #15 on a LT when they appear to be sold on Beachum at that position. Then again, with Lewan and Beachum at LT and Gilbert and Adams at RT, we would be set at tackle for years to come. Does anyone think they aren’t as satisfied with Beachum as I believe?

    Also, I expect a lot of people to disagree with this, but I have a feeling Adams is going to evolve into one of the best values in the NFL, regardless of what side he plays on. This is particularly true if we sign him to an extension soon, before he has a chance to have a breakout year. My gut feeling tells me he’s going to vastly improve this year and easily beat out Gilbert for the RT spot. IMO, people have been too critical of him. I thought he was making great progress the year before last. The stabbing was clearly a setback and affected him for most of last year, but I’m extremely confident that Munchak is going to whip him into shape and make a great player out of him…MAYBE even at LT.

  • srdan

    I think you are looking at it wrong. It’s not a number 15 on a LT. It’s a #15 on a player that could potentially shape your team the way ogden did for the ravens, or long for the dolphins. I think he is a special talent. He would have been the #1 overall last year. We would be lucky if he is on the board.

    I also agree with you on adams, this is the first season where he has an offseason. And he is still feraking distratcted with the off field incident court stuff, which stinks.

  • Toddy Bravo

    Wow, you think #1 overall last year? Over Fisher and Joeckel? I hadn’t heard anything like that, but I’ll take your word for it. He is a talented guy, I’ll give you that, but I’m not sure we can afford to take him with all of our other needs, even if he is the BPA. Regardless of our opinions, the nice part about this draft is that there will be multiple high quality options when the Steelers are on the clock.

    As far as Adams, at least he doesn’t have physical issues this offseason. So, there’s some good news anyway.

  • srdan

    When it comes to college ball and players, take what I say wiht a grain of salt. Also, I am a big fan of physical football players, especially emotional ones. My assessment of him starts there.

  • Lewis

    I read the same thing. Lewan is supposed to be better than Joekle and Fisher.

    I think he’d be a good pick at 15, if the other prospects are running dry.

    It’s kinda a boring pick, but a safe one imo.

  • “WC”

    Given a choice I would take Lewan at I-15 if available. W
    ould not be surprised to see the Steelers pick him there.

  • dgh57

    I think if Lewan is still there at 15 they all the sudden decide they like Lewan at LT better and Beachum’s versatility even more. Quality backups like Beachum has would come in handy with the way our OL stays healthy now days.

  • Paddy

    I would steal this guy in a NY minute. Ben would be grateful

  • Paddy

    Beachum is a smart player but no big enough right now

  • Dewayne Braxton

    I agree Lewan is a special player and the I believer the Steelers think so too. It’s time to get Ben the protection he needs. He is not getting any younger. We anwtt to maximize our new back field talent. Lewan is a difference maker on the line. I hope he falls because there is no way the Steelers would not draft him.

  • Dewayne Braxton

    Right. And the main point is that Beachum cannot dominate defensive tackles-especially in short yardage. He is what he is and he aint Lewan.

  • Dewayne Braxton

    Exactly. No smart team would fall in love with Beachum nor Gilbert enough to pass on Lewan. Adams still has the potential to be a stud right tackle. Moving his positionw as a mistake. I hope the Steelers acknowledge their mistake and put Adams back at right tackle where he had success.

  • Toddy Bravo

    I appreciate your opinion, but if you gauge an offensive tackle’s quality by whether or not he started multiple years for a school in a major conference, then why not Adams (Big 10) or Gilbert (SEC)? Beachum beat out both of those guys. Last year’s #1 overall was an OT who played for Central Michigan. Get it? Playing for a big time school doesn’t always paint the entire picture.

    I hear what you’re saying with the TE help last year, but don’t forget that the line was ravaged by injuries last year, particularly with our top 2 centers going down, so I don’t know how much you can read into what happened last year. If/when this line is healthy, they are much better than some people think.

  • Dewayne Braxton

    I realize good players often come from small schools. To me the fact that Beachum beat out both Adams and Gilbert exemplifies how bad the line really is and our need for Lewan. As for injuries, I hear ya but the back uo centers played better than the tackles. Before hsi injury and decastro improvent, some would hve considered velasco as the best lineman. Wallace played well enough to earn a contract this year.

  • Toddy Bravo

    Again, I don’t think it’s nearly that bad. Not very many teams have #1 picks at every position on the O-line. The fact is the Steelers have always built their lines from the inside out. That’s what we’ve done here too. We actually have high picks all along the line, so I don’t see how we can afford another #1 pick when we have so many other needs. Don’t get me wrong, I’d welcome the guy on the team with open arms, but I’d prefer if we addressed other positions.

  • Dewayne Braxton

    I respect your competency but I cannot understand how you disregard the O-line’s low rankings? Or, forget all of the third and shorts we did not convert. Or, how long we go without a 100 yard rusher. Or, how we used an extra tightend and still ranked 27/28 in rushing. If we do not judge by the numbers, what bases are we using? How can anyone say they aren’t that bad when the numbers and record both say otherwise? True, most teams don’t have #1st picks across the line but the rankings say they have better players. I agree that we have other positions of need, so I do not like the idea of drafting another lineman high, but the line’s poor rankings and performance may requires us to? We could beat this to death, so I’ll state my last point. After quarteback many GM’s, experts, and coaches believe left tackle is the most critical position. I haven’t seen anything that makes me believe the Steelers trust Beachum to protect a 100 milllion dollar quarterback and open running lanes for Bell. He aint that good. Thus Lewan enters the discussion.

  • Toddy Bravo

    My last point. I have two reasons to believe that the O-line will be better than you think. First, you saw the line healthy last year for less than a quarter when Pouncey got injured. When Pouncey and our two guards are all healthy, I promise it will make the tackles better. In fact, I’d challenge anyone to find a better interior line overall (when healthy). Next, you assume players stay the same and never improve. I firmly believe that another year in the system will make Beachum, Adams and Gilbert better. I also believe that Munchak, one of the best line coaches in the business, will work wonders with those guys. Adams and Gilbert have the tools and the pedigree. I’m confident that they’ll be fine if coached up properly. I think the fact that Beachum beat out those two former 2nd round picks speaks for itself. At the very least, I think he could be one of the better versatile swingmen in the league, with the ability to play any position on the line. There is tremendous value in that.

    Finally, I never said we shouldn’t draft an OT and maybe some OG depth as well. I just don’t think it should be at #15 overall because…we have far more pressing needs. Contrary to your statement, I haven’t seen one “expert” (out of probably hundreds) say that OT was our biggest need. Almost every single one has said it’s either CB, WR or DE.

  • Toddy Bravo

    True. IMO, people underappreciate what Beachum brings. The ability to play any position on the line is highly coveted.

  • Dewayne Braxton

    Point of clarification. I agree, none of the experts say OT is our biggest need. Most have us picking a WR or CB and niether one would upset me. My reference to LT being the second most critical position was a general statement related to sentiments I’ve heard over the years.The league’s 100 million dollar quartebacks have to be well protected, so many GM’s and coaches rank LT as the second most critical position. You make a compelling argument. Go Steelers!!!

  • Toddy Bravo

    Good talking with you, man. Go Steelers! B&G4L.

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