Michigan's Taylor Lewan considered among top tackles in NFL draft

Gregory Shamus

Mel Kiper considers Lewan an elite draft prospect if he decides for forego his senior season at Michigan.

Michigan junior offensive tackle Taylor Lewan turned into an elite NFL draft prospect while earning All-America honors for his play this season at left tackle.

After Michigan plays South Carolina in the Outback Bowl on New Year's Day, the fourth-year junior could give up his remaining year of eligibility at Michigan to enter the NFL draft. According to ESPN NFL draft expert Mel Kiper, Lewan won't have any problems getting selected near the top of the draft.

"Taylor Lewan, right now, I don't think he's going to be the first left tackle taken. I think Luke Joeckel from Texas A&M, who won the Outland Trophy, I think he will be," Kiper said. "Lewan, right now, is 13 on the big board. He will be battling, ironically, a kid from the Mid-American Conference, not far away at Central Michigan, in Eric Fisher. So it's Eric Fisher or Lewan to be the second tackle off the board, behind Joeckel."

Lewan, from Scottsdale, Arizona, will wait until the season ends in Tampa before considering his options. Lewan has made 27 consecutive starts at left tackle for Michigan, but if he returns for his final year of eligibility, Lewan will risk sustaining an injury that could alter his pro career.

The payday awaiting an NFL first round pick will be hard for Lewan to pass up if he can live up to Kiper's early projections that have him among the players projected to be selected in the middle of the first round.

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