I'm told the Raiders like Michigan OT Taylor Lewan better than either Greg Robinson (Auburn) or Jake Matthews (Texas A&M).— Jerry McDonald (@Jerrymcd) April 23, 2014
Jake Matthews and Greg Robinson are widely considered the best offensive tackles in the draft with Lewan trailing in the third slot. Mike Mayock had both Matthews and Robinson rated higher than Lewan in his latest player rankings. Matthews is the safest pick in the draft and Robinson has an extremely high upside. So why then might the Raiders prefer Lewan?
At 6'7", 309 lbs, Taylor Lewan has excellent size for an offensive tackle. Despite his large frame, he has quick feet and good lateral agility. He is durable and was a four-year starter vs. top talent in the Big Ten. Lewan is an athletic freak as he produced the best 40-yard dash (4.79 seconds) and broad jump (9 feet, 9 inches) of any offensive lineman at the NFL Scouting Combine. He plays with a passion and does not take plays off.
Lewan also has his drawbacks.
On May 19, Lewan will face three misdemeanor charges for assault that date back to a December fight. On the field, he does not show great technique and is extremely raw. Lewan is inconsistent in terms of timing the snap. He has a bad habit of dropping his head on contact.
While taking Lewan over Matthews and Robinson would definitely suprise and anger some respected analysts, it actually would be a justifiable selection. Lewan is already a very accomplished offensive tackle, yet he is raw and has a high upside. He is a top ten talent that could possibly be selected in the top five. The bottom line is that if the Raiders selected any of the top three tackles in the first round, it would be a respectable pick.
Taylor Lewan (#77) vs. Ohio State