Tuesday, former Michigan Wolverines’ offensive tackle Taylor Lewan was hosted by Detroit on a pre-draft visit. Lewan recently wrapped up a very successful career down the road in Ann Arbor, where he was a first team All-American in 2012 and 2013, as well as a first team All-Big Ten player from 2011-2013. He also collected the Rimington-Pace Offensive Lineman of the Year award in 2012 and 2013.
Off the field, however, Lewan has recently run into a bit of trouble, which may concern teams like Detroit in need of quiet leadership. He was recently charged with three counts of misdemeanor assault for his role in an altercation with an Ohio State fan. Otherwise, Lewan has been an outspoken player, never afraid of sharing his opinion on rival competitors or teams.
As far as fit is concerned, the Lions might quietly be in a position to take a player like Lewan this May. Riley Reiff seamlessly moved into Jeff Backus’ old tackle position last season, but as Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press points out, many still beleive he’s best suited to play guard. Veteran guard Rob Sims will be a free agent in a year, meaning the Lions could very well draft a top tackle and groom him for a starting role next year.
Lewan has already been linked to Detroit in a mock draft by one notable scribe this offseason. After his outstanding combine performance in late February, The MMQB’s Peter King sent Lewan to Detroit with the 10th pick, which raised a few eyebrows. Only Auburn’s Greg Robinson and Texas A&M’s Jake Matthews are considered better rated tackle prospects, and both are expected to go within the top ten this May. Lewan is likely just behind each.
Considering the always concerning boom or bust potential of receivers, cornerbacks, safeties and linebackers, selecting an offensive tackle high in the first round might be the safest pick the Lions could make, especially if they’re not sold on any of the top prospects from the other four spots.
At this point, chalk the move up to Detroit doing their due diligence on a local prospect just in case. Still, as time wears on, don’t discount the quiet impact Robinson, Matthews or Lewan could make on the roster if any fell.
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