Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
The Ravens are one year removed from hoisting the Lombardi trophy, but you can hardly tell because of extreme roster moves following their title run and some funny business in the offensive backfield (courtesy of Runningback Ray Rice). In spite of some very obvious pay-based non-signings in the 2013 offseason, the Ravens kept most of the offense intact and picked up a niece piece on defense in Elvis Dumervil. The biggest issue to overcome was the loss of leaders Ray Lewis and Ed Reed and the Ravens stumbled to an 8-8 finish, missing the playoffs.
The truth of the matter is that the Ravens suffered the dreaded SuperBowl hangover and lacked locker room leadership to rally like they did the season before. The issues were on both sides of the ball, but a noticeable problem was in the run game. A cold weather, power running team from the AFC North saw a decrease in run production. Some will say it was Rice showing some wear and tear and Bernard Pierce being a young runner. It seems the Ravens felt that there were line problems (low run production and 48 sacks allowed) and let rock solid right tackle Michael Oher walk in free agency.
As luck should have it, this draft has quite a few quality offensive tackles who will be available when the Ravens pick at #17. Taylor Lewan from the University of Michigan is exactly what the doctor ordered - a nasty, aggressive run blocker and pass protector. Obviously, Lewan has been a left tackle for the Wolverines, but he would be a solid fit at right tackle for the Ravens.
Before we look at why he is a good fit, let's address the obvious pending legal issues on Lewan's record. For those who are unaware, Lewan was involved in an altercation after Michigan played Ohio State last season. He's facing three assault related charges which actually makes it logical that he'd be available when the Ravens pick. Lewan will go to pre-trial on May 19, not long after the draft. It is possible that his pending case will make teams shy away, but don't be surprised if they don't.
The point here is to convey a few reasons why the Ravens should pick Lewan and plug him in at right tackle immediately (isn't that what you do with first round OTs?). The tangible evidence is there for all to see as Lewan earned two first team All Big Ten honors and a first team All America honor as well. In addition, the film on Lewan has a strong positive ratio of productive plays versus negative plays. As a run blocker, Lewan attacks his targets aggressively and blocks through the whistle regularly. In pass protection, Lewan is flawed but not in a way that is uncommon to most OTs of his status. On most plays, Lewan engages pass rushers and can use his strength to outmuscle the average defender. Against stronger defenders who use a bull rush or power moves, Lewan will lose because he does not extend his arms properly and loses leverage and balance. That said, his technique can be tweaked slightly and a move to right tackle would help the transition to the NFL. My final verdict is that Lewan would be an excellent plug and play option for the Ravens.
Thanks to all the CSC members who participated in this year's community mock draft. Without your help, none of this would be possible.
Below are the complete results from our community mock draft.
Catch up with all of the mock draft selections in our 2014 CSC Community Mock Draft Hub.
|Pick||Team||Selection||Team Representative||Approval Rating|
QB Teddy Bridgewater - Louisville
|2||St. Louis Rams||DE Jadeveon Clowney - South Carolina||Kevin Sean Held||57%|
|3||Jacksonville Jaguars||QB Johnny Manziel - Texas A&M||Alex Swift||59%|
|4||Cleveland Browns||WR Sammy Watkins - Clemson||Shadow Flash||80%|
|5||Oakland Raiders||LB Khalil Mack - Buffalo||Khannar||71%|
|6||Atlanta Falcons||OT Greg Robinson - Auburn||Dave Choate||80%|
|7||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||QB Blake Bortles - UCF||russty||31%|
|8||Minnesota Vikings||CB Justin Gilbert - Oklahoma St.||JackMarzullo||50%|
|9||Buffalo Bills||OT Jake Matthews - Texas A&M||Letloosethedogsofwar||88%|
|10||Detroit Lions||WR Mike Evans - Texas A&M||Monkey Poop Battle||49%|
|11||Tennessee Titans||LB Anthony Barr - UCLA||Lostastic||60%|
|12||NY Giants||TE Eric Ebron - UNC||Khannar||78%|
|13||St. Louis Rams||S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix - Alabama||hooahsaint2.0||74%|
|14||Chicago Bears||NT Aaron Donald - Pittsburgh||BlackandGold4ever||82%|
|15||Pittsburgh Steelers||NT Louis Nix III - Notre Dame||saintmanumit|
|16||Dallas Cowboys||DE Kony Ealy - Missouri||Ryan Edwards|
|17||Baltimore Ravens||OT Taylor Lewan - Michigan||Tee Word|
|18||NY Jets||Monkey Poop Battle|
|20||Arizona Cardinals||Alex Swift|
|21||Green Bay Packers||BlackandGold4ever|
|23||Kansas City Chiefs||coldpizza|
|25||San Diego Chargers||Lostastic|
|26||Cleveland Browns||Shadow Flash|
|27||New Orleans Saints||Dave Cariello|
|28||Carolina Panthers||Ryan Edwards|
|29||New England Patriots||Shadow Flash|
|30||San Francisco 49ers||saintmanumit|
|31||Denver Broncos||Alex Swift|