Taylor Lewan Scouting Report

March 10th, 2014

Taylor Lewan (photo from mgoblue)

 

QB / RB / FB / WR / TE / OT / OG / OC / DT / DE / OLB / ILB / CB / SAF

Prospect: Taylor Lewan, T, Michigan
Height: 6’7”
Weight: 309
Grade: 7.33 (Grading Scale)

 

Scouting Report:

Strengths: Ideal physical build for the position…great length at 6’7” and 34”+ arm length at the Combine…moves well in space…comfortable playing pass protection on an island…impressive upper body strength when he is square to his target…strong hands to follow an effective punch…plays with an attitude, not afraid to get chippy or play through the whistle…can slide and kick effectively when not covered by a tight end…keeps his feet churning while under contact…very adept at absorbing bull rushes, has the strength to redirect as he takes away the momentum quite impressively…does have some experience playing on the right side…has a sound understanding of his assignment on just about every snap I watched…voted a team captain

Weaknesses: Has a tendency to overextend from the waist and leave his base behind…often tries to do too much with his shoulders and arms and doesn’t effectively incorporate his lower body…needs a lot of improvement at finding targets in space in run blocking…will put his head down, especially when covered by a tight end…while his surliness can be an asset at times, he often takes it too far (see MSU and tOSU games) and will take dumb penalties…had several in-game clashes with teammates and coaches, very animated and hot-headed; not shy about getting into a teammate for making a mistake…left several games for at least one snap with minor injuries, though he never missed a start…does not down block effectively, not a very good candidate for zone run blocking even though he does have outstanding movement skills…has some off-field character issues that need to be evaluated

Overall: Lewan is a player with outstanding physical skills but not a guy who consistently plays to his potential. His length, feet, and strength are outstanding, and at times (Nebraska in particular) he can be a dominant, shut-down left tackle. But other times he gets mechanically sloppy, overextending and nullifying his physical gifts with poor technique.

He’s at his best when not covered by a tight end and asked to focus on an outside pass rusher, which is unusual. His aggression and surly on-field demeanor–including to his own teammates and coaches–will not be a fit for every team. Nor will his frustrating inability to engage targets in space despite his truly impressive movement skills. There are also some off-field transgressions that teams will want to explore to make sure the coaching staff is comfortable with him.

The upside is certainly high. At his best he is a younger, lither version of Titans left tackle Michael Roos. Older Lions fans could be reminded of Lomas Brown too. If his technique, which ranges from textbook to terrible and often does so within the same game, can be ironed out Lewan will be an above-average starting left tackle for years for a power-oriented team with a strong coaching presence. He’s a much better fit for a straightforward scheme and not a zone scheme even though he moves well, as his technique sloppiness quotient dramatically increases the more he has to move. He will be a top-12 pick in the 2014 NFL draft. I have enough reservations about his mental toughness and inconsistent technique that I wouldn’t touch him before pick 20, but he’s still worthy of a mid/late 1st rounder.—-Jeff Risdon

 

Scouting Notes

Michigan vs. Michigan State

–fires out low and runs up the back of TE, tries to work back inside to locate target but too late

–crushing wham block on DT, gets both arms into shoulders and turns him inside, sticks with it

–fans out in pass pro by design, but the rush is inside him and he never sees it, forces a throwaway by Garnder

–locks up end on delayed run to his side, soundly squares up hips and shoulders and keeps driving feet with knees bent to move him off spot

–overextends on his pass pro set, gets beaten outside but blitzer (S D. Allen) cannot flatten. Lewan then holds him as Gardner scrambles to his side and takes a bad sack

–choppy shuffle step, runs into his LG as he tries to track the DE twisting inside

–gets away with a chop block on a badly executed screen

–lined up as TE in extra tackle formation, is the only UM lineman to successfully block his man

–patient in his set as DE wastes motion trying to juke him to the outside, good punch jabs him safely away

–cannot engage LB at 2nd level, had his head down and lunged too far over his hips

–hogties his man and spins him to the ground as his feet get too close together. Blatant hold not flagged.

–pulls across formation quickly but cannot get leverage on the DB coming up in run support and he makes the tackle despite Lewan diving at him

–flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct, grabs facemask of his man well after play ended after taunting him

–initially makes a solid block by sliding his feet well, but once engaged he overextends and loses contact as a result

–once again makes fundamentally sound initial punch and block, but lunges out with his hips and back and has to grab jersey to stay engaged

–gets too upright and cannot mirror the rusher juking outside and then crossing him inside, gives up QB hit on incompletion

–lunges at #44 who is trying to cross him inside, barely touches him and gives up the QB pressure
Akron vs. Michigan (seen in person)

–destroys his man with a great initial punch to the chest, squares him up with his hips and shoulders and chucks him to the ground

–oversets outside in pass protect, the end (#91) swims across his inside shoulder and generates a pressure on Garnder, who runs into the rush for no gain

–smooth kick step walls off the outside, Gardner scrambles unnecessarily to his side and Lewan maintains the block with nice feet

–cannot reach his target on a down block on an end playing 5-tech. Not really his fault as the end broke inside himself on a nice pre-snap read of the play

–good effort and quickness getting out in front of the screen but Garnder wildly misses target

–overextends in reaching out to the end while covered by TE Butt, essentially blocks Butt into the end and all fall down

–goes down with what appears to be a serious knee injury; is immobile face down on the field for several minutes. Misses one series.

–gets away with a blatant hold of the facemask on a play that draws the Akron coaching staff onto the field complaining about the lack of a call

–turns his man outside and releases him by design on run to the right

–noted twice during the game that he sat completely isolated from his linemates while they were huddling with the coaches on the sideline

 

Michigan vs. Alabama ’12 (seen in person)
The Michigan left tackle is often hailed as a potential top 10 pick next April but Lewan didn’t show it here. On several plays where I focused on him I saw him lunging out and getting too high with his punch in trying to get to a target that moved too quickly for him. He was generally effective at sealing a seam but didn’t get much push on stretch runs, almost every one of which Alabama quickly snuffed out. Saw at least three pass protect situations where he wound up on the ground (one was the 1st INT). Not sure he gave up any sacks but he did get beat on a nice inside rip move once in the second quarter. Lewan did play better in the second half, made a couple of nice drive blocks and showed he could quickly slide outside in pass protect while keeping knees bent and hips square. Had an indignant argument with a coach during a timeout where he was demonstrating moving to his right; I wish I knew the exchange and its context better. Left the field in the 4th with an apparent knee injury on a play that encapsulated his night: on a run to the right, his initial target (RDE) beat him inside and as Lewan chased across he clipped his foot and crumpled into the ground. Threw his helmet off in obvious pain and frustration, and his replacement got beat for a sack on the next play without even touching the pass rusher

 

Other games scouted:  Ohio State ’12, South Carolina ’12 (aka the Clowney game), Michigan State ’12, Notre Dame, Nebraska (seen in person), Ohio State ’13 (seen in person), Kansas State

 

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