Lewis says seventh round selection was the best thing that's ever happened to him

Posted Jul 2, 2012

When the Lions selected linebacker Travis Lewis with the 223rd overall selection in the 2012 NFL Draft, the former Sooner was a little surprised, not because he got drafted but because of where he was drafted.

Lewis approached the draft with the mentality that he’d be selected early, so when his name was announced in the seventh round, he let it be known that there was a sizeable chip on his shoulder.

“Absolutely there's a chip,” he told Lions’ media following his selection. “(But) I'm just happy to be drafted. I'm happy to have this opportunity. A big mantra for me is, it's not where you get drafted, it's what you do after you get drafted.

“I feel like I was one of the top linebackers in the draft, and now I just got to go out and prove it."

The process leading up to the NFL Draft is a long one, and for Lewis, it started immediately after his season came to a close at Oklahoma.

“There’s not a lot of down time. You end your season and automatically you go into combine training. Then after the combine you train until your pro-day, after that you’re waiting for the draft – still training. Then it’s the draft.

“It’s a very long, spread-out process, but I enjoyed every minute of it.”

Being evaluated at the combine is one of the most stressful – and important – factors in determining where a player will fall come draft day.

Unfortunately for Lewis, he knew teams weren’t too impressed with his combine numbers.

“I don’t blame them (for being unimpressed),” he said following his selection. “But there was a team that took a look at my film and saw a good football player. I’m just happy it was the Lions.”

The Lions showed interest in Lewis from the beginning.

Linebackers coach Matt Burke went to his Pro Day, they had a great conversation, and Lewis said he knew that he’d be drafted by Detroit.He just didn’t know where he’d fall to.

When it got to the fifth round and the Lions took linebacker Tahir Whitehead from Temple, that’s when his anxiety really started to build.

“I thought it would be sooner than the seventh round,” he said. “I was at home watching the draft on day 1, day 2, and then it got to day 3, I had expected to have my name called early. It didn’t and I’m not going to lie, at the end of the sixth round, I really started to get freaked out.”

“The seventh round came, and I went to the gym. The phone call came, and I didn’t answer it at first because I didn’t recognize the area code. I finally got in contact with coach and all the stress was relieved.

“I was happy that I was going to be with my boys here from Oklahoma. It was a very joyful experience.”

After the excitement died down, Lewis took the label of being a seventh round pick and used it as motivation. He set out to prove his mantra that it doesn’t matter where you’re drafted, but how you perform after your drafted.

“I think it was the best thing that ever happened to me,” he said. “That chip on my shoulder of being picked late, of all the teams passing me – I believe that I’m a first round talent and everybody should have that mentality.

“It was a blessing that it happened to me, being picked that late, and now I just come to work every day with that chip on my shoulder.”