Like Young, Lewis is motivated to be the Lions next seventh-round success story

Posted May 9, 2012

Former Oklahoma linebacker Travis Lewis reports for rookie training camp on Friday after being selected in the seventh round (223rd overall) by the Lions.

Lewis’ production speaks for itself and he looks to have a good shot at making the roster. But he doesn’t have to look any further than his new team to see a seventh-round success story in the making.

The Lions drafted defensive end Willie Young in the seventh-round in 2010. Young made the roster out of training camp that year, became a steady contributor in 2011 and is expected to play a big role this season.

To this day, Young still doesn’t know why he fell all the way to the seventh round in the draft.

“I guess I’m just not one of those guys who tests well,” he said. “I ran like a 4.8 (40-yard dash) at the combine, but that has nothing to do with football. Who runs in a straight line for 40 yards? Game speed is totally different.”

Young was productive at North Carolina State, becoming just the sixth player in school history to record at least 20 sacks in a career.

“I’m not doing anything any different than what I did in college,” Young said. “I didn’t take a different approach. I am who I am and I do what I do.”

The measurables didn’t check out for Lewis, either, and that’s a big reason he fell in the draft. Lewis ran a 4.88 40-yard dash at the combine, which made a lot of teams forget the fact that he was a four-year starter at Oklahoma, recording 451 career tackles.

"It's not about stats sometimes, it's all about how fast you run and how high you can jump,” Lewis told reporters after he was drafted.

“I'm just happy (the Lions) saw something in me and I'm going to prove them right and I'm going to prove a lot of teams wrong. I'm going to carry that mentality with me to Detroit."

Young said he also entered the league with a chip on his shoulder after 212 players were taken before him. He used it as motivation.

The Lions loved Young’s size at 6-foot-5, 251 pounds coming out of school. He bulked up to 268 pounds last season, but says he’s down to 260 pounds right now. The Lions have high expectations for Young, but none higher than those Young has for himself.

“There’s a difference between being confident and conceded and I’m just confident,” Young said.

“I’m just a lot more knowledgeable. I think the older guys have played a big role as far as keeping me ready. There are so many tricks to the trade in this game and you really need the older guys to help get you going and expose you to the stuff you need to be aware of.”

Young has improved dramatically each of his first two seasons under that tutelage and expectations are high for a breakout 2012 season.

Lewis should take note.