Many experts have predicted the New York Giants to draft OT Taylor Lewan out of Michigan. With a dearth of quality offensive tackles, the Giants could use a top prospect like Lewan to help bolster he offensive line and protect Eli Manning.
Throughout Eli Manning’s career, we have constantly seen him struggle when not given time in the pocket and succeed when he is given time. This season, Eli Manning was sacked almost 3 times per loss, forcing him to hurry some throws and make bad decisions. Also, due to poor offensive line play the Giants ranked 29th in the league in rushing offense: just 83.3 yards per game.
TAYLOR LEWAN’S STRENGTHS
Taylor Lewan is a monster on the offensive line, a 6’7″, 309 pound one man wrecking crew. Compared to the other top prospects, Lewan is one of the biggest, including a 2 inch advantage over top prospect Greg Robinson. Although size should not be prioritized over talent when scouting offensive tackles, it certainly helps when your as big as Lewan.
Lewan is also just an overall phenomenal athlete. Gifted with natural ability and strength, Taylor Lewan was able to switch from the defensive line to the offensive line in his senior year of high school. The future Wolverine quickly learned the new position and excelled immediately, proving his versatility and simply his overall athleticism. Lewan further proved this by beating all offensive tackled in the 40 yard dash (4.87 seconds) and the broad jump (117 inches) at the combine.
Another strong suit of Lewan’s play is his exceptional footwork on the field. Lewan’s quick feet enables him to seal off the outside with relative ease, preventing some of the faster defensive ends or outside linebackers to beat him off the edge. Taylor Lewan can also use his footwork to accelerate into open space, sealing blocks downfield to create room for his running back. Also, his natural ability in this area allows him to have a practically perfect kick slide, which further improves his pass blocking
Finally, Lewan has proven his consistency and durability throughout his college career. At Michigan, Taylor Lewan played in 50 games over four years, and in the past three years he has started all 39 games that Michigan has played. Often times we see offensive linemen get hurt from all the fatigue and stress the position has on the body, so someone as durable as Lewan is hard to find.
TAYLOR LEWAN’S WEAKNESSES
The Michigan graduate has yet to prove he can play against elite defenders. During his career as a Wolverine, he struggled against stronger defenders, along with crafty, creative defenders who could fool Lewan and get to the quarterback. Although this doesn’t take away much draft stock as most offensive linemen struggle against better defenders. However, in the NFC East Lewan would potentially have to face top pass rushers Brian Orakpo and Trent Cole. Lewan will have to learn how to block these type of elite pass rushers, and if not then his NFL career may suffer.
The most obvious flaw about drafting Lewan is his off the field problems. Lewan has recently been tied to an assault charge against an Ohio State fan at a restaurant. We have seen players such as Justin Blackmon join the NFL with the off the field problems, and it has ruined their careers. Before anyone drafts Lewan, they have to ensure that there will be no legal concerns about the prospect.
Jake Long. This comparison has been made several times before, and its not hard to understand why. Both are Michigan represents, both are extremely athletic, both have phenomenal footwork, and both have talent. Although Lewan is nowhere near the skill level as Long is right now, In the right system Lewan has the potential to develop into one of the top tackles in the league, if not the best.
Potential New York Giant?
The Giants definitely have a need for an offensive tackle. With Will Beatty still recovering from a broken leg, along with the fact that he is aging and out of his prime, leaves a bit of a gap at left tackle. Also, with Justin Pugh not developing as Coughlin and Co. had hoped, drafting an offensive tackle is a must.
Taylor Lewan is a gifted enough athlete to more than succeed in the NFL, and his ceiling is high enough to evolve into a star. Lewan will likely be the best offensive tackle available at the 12th overall pick, with Greg Robinson and Jake Matthews most likely being selected already.
The New York Giants have the need and the interest to draft Taylor Lewan 12th overall, and don’t be surprised to see him wearing blue next year.