Taylor Lewan: Why Dallas Should Take A Pass

Some will NEVER earn the right to wear the star on their helmet, including Taylor Lewan. - Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sport

On paper, University of Michigan offensive tackle Taylor Lewan is an impressive prospect, but once you look beyond the scope of what he can do on the field, the luster fades.

Last week, here on the pages of Blogging The Boys, I addressed the possibility the the Dallas Cowboys could once again invest their first-round selection on an offensive lineman. I'm not the only one, beat reporters are seeing the same possibility.

In my post there were several prospects that the Cowboys might consider, including two offensive tackles; Cyrus Kouandjio of Alabama and Morgan Moses of Virginia. One player whom I left off of the list was Michigan tackle Taylor Lewan. That was not an oversight.

As I stated in my opening, Lewan is an impressive talent on the field, certainly his skills merit first-round consideration. During the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, he was able to solidify his standing as the third-best tackle available behind Texas A&M's Jack Matthews and Auburn's Greg Robinson. Potentially he may have even elevated himself to the #2 position. Lewan proved himself to be an athletic freak with some of the numbers he recorded. He turned in a 4.87 in the 40, a 9'9" broad jump, a 7.39 second three-cone time, and 4.49 short shuttle time. Impressive indeed for a 6'7", 309 pound offensive lineman.

On game days, Lewan was equally impressive, prompting the guys over at NFLDraftScout.com to say that Lewan was reminiscent of another Michigan tackle who is making a mark in the NFL.

COMPARES TO: Jake Long, LT, St. Louis Rams - Lewan looked like the second coming of Long wearing No. 77 in the Michigan maize and blue. Lewan, who only made the switch to offensive line as a senior in high school, is certainly behind the No. 1 overall pick of the 2008 draft in terms of development, but the size, athleticism and mentality are in place to resume the Wolverines' tradition of churning out quality NFL offensive linemen. - Dane Brugler, Rob Rand, and Derek Stephens

The Michigan offensive tackle proved to be an athletic freak with top five finishes in the 40-yard dash (4.87), broad jump (9-foot-9) and three-cone (7.39), and an above average time in the short shuttle (4.49) at 6-foot-7, 309 pounds. He was already expected to be one of the first three tackles taken. Now it’s possible he could pass Jake Matthews to be the No. 2 tackle off the board.

Read more at: http://nesn.com/2014/02/nfl-combine-saturday-winners-and-losers-taylor-lewan-c-j-fiedorowicz-impress/
The Michigan offensive tackle proved to be an athletic freak with top five finishes in the 40-yard dash (4.87), broad jump (9-foot-9) and three-cone (7.39), and an above average time in the short shuttle (4.49) at 6-foot-7, 309 pounds. He was already expected to be one of the first three tackles taken. Now it’s possible he could pass Jake Matthews to be the No. 2 tackle off the board.

Read more at: http://nesn.com/2014/02/nfl-combine-saturday-winners-and-losers-taylor-lewan-c-j-fiedorowicz-impress/

That type of on-the-field effort earned Lewan All-American honors twice during his collegiate career. Beyond the playing surface, Taylor Lewan has proven himself to be anything but an All-American.

With Lewan, there is the run-of -the-mill off-field stuff that could possibly be overlooked, such as his incident with an Ohio State fan.

Michigan offensive tackle Taylor Lewan was questioned by Ann Arbor police after an Ohio State fan said he was assaulted outside a downtown restaurant on Nov. 30, the Detroit Free Press reported Wednesday. The alleged assault took place after Michigan's 42-41 loss to Ohio State on Nov. 30. Police are still investigating and would not comment. Lewan has yet to be charged or arrested.

Ryan Munsch, 29, of Columbus, Ohio, told the Free Press and other media outlets that Lewan assaulted him and a friend in Ann Arbor. He said Lewan punched the friend, then hit Munsch in the face, knocked him to the ground and kicked him in the ribs

While that kind of conduct cannot be condoned, given the nature of the rivalry between the two Big Ten schools, there is a high likelihood that there is some blame to be carried by both sides of the issue. Lewan is not the first athlete to face such an incident. In fact, Lewan told the police that he was only there to break up the fight. Unfortunately, this was not his first encounter with Ann Arbor authorities during his time at Michigan.

Back in 2009, Michigan place kicker Brandon Gibbons, who was also Taylor Lewan's roommate at the time, was arrested for raping a female University of Michigan athlete. While this cannot be laid at Lewan's feet, his alleged actions following the attack, if true, certainly should be a cause for second thoughts by any team who considers drafting him. According to a police report, the following was alleged to have occurred.

Shortly after the woman reported the rape, she began to receive threats from Gibbons roommate and fellow football player, Taylor Lewan (now an All-American), that he would rape her again if she pressed charges against Gibbons.

Not only did the victim allegedly receive threats directly from Lewan, he allegedly addressed his "intent" with at least one of the woman's friends. According to a report taken by campus police, Lewan repeated his threat of what would happen if the victim continued to cooperate with the investigation.

"If she does, I’m going to rape her because [Gibbons] didn’t."

Not only did the victim and her friend report the threat to police, two other members of the University of Michigan football team also took the initiative to report Lewan's threats to the school's Office of Student Affairs, who promptly notified University Police. Lewan was formally notified to have no further contact with the victim and he was advised that he faced the possibility of university sanctions and criminal prosecution if he did not. Nothing further happened because shortly after the incident, the victim left school, returned to her father's home, and refused all contact with both the university and police investigators.

As Newsday reported recently, any team looking at Lewan as a prospect would likely have some concerns with the issue. To that end, Lewan addressed the issue with the media gathered to cover the combine.

Lewan denied the allegation Thursday and added that he was "not here to defend Brendan Gibbons."

"It's a situation between two people. I've said a lot of dumb things, but those are not things I've said. I would never disrespect a woman like that. I consider myself a guy who holds doors, not threatens people." - Taylor Lewan

With all of the off-the-field incidents that the league is facing right now, including Ray Rice's domestic violence charge in Atlantic City, the league is very sensitive to these kinds of issues. If the allegations are true, the fact that a player would think, much less utter such words, is disgusting. Still, someone will draft Taylor Lewan and draft him early on in the process. It is disconcerting at a time when the NFL recognizes that its biggest untapped domestic market is the female fan base, that one of the likely first-round draft picks in the next NFL Draft has been accused of threatening to rape a female athlete if she continued to press charges against her attacker.

While Lewan is likely headed toward a long and profitable career in the NFL, it certainly does not have to be in Dallas. As a woman, and as a life-long fan of both the game and of the Dallas Cowboys, I can only hope that the Dallas brain-trust shows the intestinal fortitude to take one look at Taylor Lewan and decide he is not worthy to wear the star. If Lewan does become a Cowboy, I would be forced to re-evaluate my support of the team that I have loved throughout my life. That's how strongly I feel on this issue; certainly I would never support the player.

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