TWENTYMAN: Lions host former Michigan OT Taylor Lewan

Posted Apr 1, 2014

The Lions don't have a significant need at tackle, but Mayhew has always said a position of strength one day can quickly become a position of need the next

Taylor LewanT Taylor Lewan (Photo: AP Images)

Taylor Lewan could have declared for the NFL draft last year and would have probably challenged Eric Fisher to be the No. 1 overall pick.

He certainly would have been right there with Luke Joeckel and Lane Johnson, who were drafted No. 2 and No. 4 overall, respectively.

Instead, Lewan chose to go back to Michigan and finish out his career as a fifth-year senior. It a decision he’s never thought twice about.

“No regrets at all,” he told during a pre-draft visit to Allen Park Tuesday. “Playing at Michigan, with the high tradition they have of guys staying five years, the Jake Long’s, Jon Jansen’s and Steve Hutchinson’s. They all had the opportunity to leave. I just wanted to be part of that tradition.”

A year later Lewan is again one of the best tackles available in the draft and considered a top-10 pick along with Texas A&M’s Jake Matthews and Auburn's Greg Robinson.

“Going back to school really gave me an opportunity to hone in on my skills,” Lewan said. “Take the tools I already have and sharpen those up and add a couple more to the toolbox. I know I’m a much better player now than I was a year ago.”

A four-year letterman at Michigan, Lewan appeared in 50 games at left tackle, making 48 starts, including 41 consecutive.

He was a first-team All-American by Sporting News and second-team by the Associated Press after winning the Big Ten Rimington-Pace Offensive Lineman of the Year award.

The Lions return both starting tackles Riley Reiff and LaAdrian Waddle, and top backup Corey Hilliard. It appears tackle is more of a luxury than a big need at this point, but general manager Martin Mayhew has always said that a strength one day in the NFL can be a weakness the next.

The Lions seem to be investigating all their options, whether that’s drafting at No. 10, moving up or moving back.

Lewan said he doesn’t mind entering a situation where he’d have to compete for a job.

“I think competition is the biggest thing for any program -- NFL, college or Pop Warner,” he said. “That’s something that drives guys and makes them better. Whoever wins that job at the end of the day is going to be a better player for it. Competition doesn’t bother me. If anything, it helps me.

“It’s the drive to want to take a man from point A to point B against his will and put him in the dirt a dozen times, 60 minutes a game.”

The Lions and Lewan probably also talked about an off-the-field issue involving him being charged with three misdemeanors last December after an altercation with an Ohio State fan.