Taylor Lewan - "always somebody better that came before you"

Submitted by Blazefire on December 7th, 2012 at 1:26 AM

If you bother to keep an eye on MGoLicious, you may have seen an article on MLive wherein Taylor Lewan discusses the RS Freshmen that will be playing next year a little bit. (Unfortunately, no indicators about which way he himself is leaning). At any rate, one quote of his stands out, where the article concludes.

"I'm proud of what they've done, but if you play at a school like Michigan, you need to know that nothing is ever good enough. There's always somebody who came before you who was better."

There's no arguing that the best Left Tackle in Michigan history is Jake Long. We've had a number of really great Tackles, but Long is just tops. That's who Taylor must hold himself up against. And dang it if that's not a tough act to follow. The question I would like to pose is this:

What would Taylor Lewan have to do in his senior year, should he return, to become the greatest ever? Is it even possible? Part of Long's incredible success was our rushing game during his tenure. surely, Lewan cannot be held accountable for the interior line's problems causing our rushing game to have some major issues, but does our lack of a rushing game  this past year hurt him in "greatest ever" respect? Is it possible for him to become the greatest ever without a Hartesque rushing game coming out of the backfield?



December 7th, 2012 at 7:19 AM ^

I want a win also but since were comparing Lewan to Jake Long I hope Clowney is a 100% so we can see how good Taylor really is. Hypothetically speaking I would expect Long to completely shutdown Clowney. He was just a different kind of animal out on the field.


December 7th, 2012 at 7:26 AM ^

Taylor still tends to go on stretches of dumb penalties which I don't ever recall Jake doing. Either way, he's still a 1st rounder and is darn impressive but I don't know how you can be better than the #1 overall pick unless he gets so much better that he also goes #1


December 7th, 2012 at 7:49 AM ^

What would Taylor Lewan have to do in his senior year, should he return, to become the greatest ever?

Making Jadaveon Clowney look foolish in the Outback Bowl would be a good start.

Johnny Blood

December 7th, 2012 at 8:10 AM ^

I would live it if he took someone out of the field a la Michael Oher.  I know he would get a penalty on the play, but it would be awesome to see.

As an aside, I was watching a Dolphins game earlier this season (yes, I'm a glutton for punishment) and Long looked like he was struggling a bit -- is he injured?


December 7th, 2012 at 8:17 AM ^

All of this Jake Long being the greatest O-lineman in our history is a little short sighted. Did we forget  both Hutchinson and Backus? I think that is what Taylor is saying. Here at UofM there have always been great players that have come before you. You cannot judge yourself off of them, you have to be the best you can be. Backus and Hutchinson have gone on to have unbelievable NFL careers. Long is coming off of a very mediocre year. I think Long is one of the best to come out of UofM, I just think Backus and Hutchinson have to be thrown in that discussion. There are likely more before them, those are just the ones I have actually seen play.

Benoit Balls

December 7th, 2012 at 8:47 AM ^

Dan Dierdorf too. He is in that Hall of Fame thingy. Might have been pretty good.

How about we all agree that we have been lucky to watch some phenomenal offensive line play over the years? It didn't start with Jake Long (who is awesome).


December 7th, 2012 at 9:27 AM ^

The strength of michigans best teams has always been the ofensive line. It has been an NFL factory since Bo's arrival. From Lewan,Long,Backus,Hutchinson,Jensen,Runyan,Dierdorf,Jumbo Elliott,Jon Giesler,and Jim Brandstatter all played a bit at Tackle and were all pretty successful dudes. Also Les Miles was an offensive lineman but I dont know what position he played or if he played lol.

Ron Utah

December 7th, 2012 at 11:15 AM ^

Did you just compare Jeff Backus to Jake Long?  Uh, not even close.  I'd take Long everytime.  Backus was a very, very good lineman, but he's not Jake Long, and his NFL career has only been above average.  His durability has been better than his play.

And I think we're mistaken to lump "linemen" into one categroy.  An OG is as different from an OT as a slot TE is from a flanker.  Jake Long may very well be the best OT Michigan has ever had; Hutch might have the edge on best lineman.

But Lewan's point is well-taken: there is a LONG (see what I did there?) list of players who should be in this conversation.

To answer the OP's question: 0 sacks, dominant run-blocking on the left side, 1 or fewer penalties.


December 7th, 2012 at 9:57 AM ^

Lewan had a horrible OSU game where freshman linemen where getting by him.  While the likes of Adolphus Washington are impressive, they should not be beating a "Long-esque" left tackle.  Sorry, not even close.  Jake Long is on another planet compared with Lewan.  Lewan's ceiling in the NFL is an average to good left tackle....Long's was and is the #1 pick and best left tackle in the game.


December 7th, 2012 at 9:57 AM ^

the All American and Hall of Fame Wistart brothers. They just learned their history with the new honorary jerseys and no one came before them.


December 7th, 2012 at 10:14 AM ^

While I gree that Jake Long was amazing and perhaps the best ever at Michigan, I think that is thrown around a bit too easily considering the long legacy of great OL that played here.  We all remember Long, he had a great career, and data/info is so much easier to collect now that it makes him seem all-worldly. 

So let's take a minute to discuss other great OL from past years:

  • Jon Jansen - Two-time captain, all american, started 50 games, good NFL career
  • Jeff Backus - amazing longevity in the NFL
  • Jon Runyan - a BEAST for years in the NFL
  • Steve Hutchinson - not a tackle, but one of the best guards in the last 20 years of the NFL
  • Maurice Williams - non-descript at Michigan, had a great NFL career
  • Jumbo Elliot - first round pick with 15 year career in NFL
  • Dan Dierdorf - hall of famer
  • Mike Kenn - first round pick with 17 year career in NFL

Here's a list I found randomly on the web, most of the guys I know little about:




December 7th, 2012 at 1:07 PM ^

Consensus first team All-American 1971, College Football HOF, drafted 27th overall in '72 by Buffalo, where he was the leader of the offensive line that paved the way for OJ Simpson to be the first RB to gain 2,000 yds in a season in '73. He was first team All-NFL in '73 and '74.

Not only that, but Reggie was a member of the Den of the Mellow Men:



December 7th, 2012 at 10:44 AM ^

I'd also say it's Long on pure ability but there is a close list behind him. I'm probably the crazy one for saying this but Lewan is nowhere in the league of Long or probably the 5 or so guys right behind him in an all-time or even my lifetime sense. I'm one of those that truly do not think he is a tackle you take in the 1st round, let alone a top 10 pick like some are saying he is. To me, he just isn't ready and going one-on-one with some of those osu FRESHMAN defined that for me. Long and those close behind would have absolutely swallowed up a true frosh like Spence where Lewan was not only getting ran past but bull rushed and beaten a few times. Lewan is a very good LT and likely will go pro. He is our best OL right now, no question. He is a top 10 LT nationally, no question. Yet, is he in that class of Long and a few others? Not even close and nostalgia truly isn't running my thought process. He is just a tier away and another year getting stronger/building a base while working on footwork is in order and he could be, IMO. He could and likely will start on an NFL team next year. Will he immediately hold his own like a Long? No. I'm convinced of that. He is not a top 10 pick OT. Not sure if he is 1st round but OTs are so prized there is little chance he gets out of it. Yet, still not the mauler AND finesse OT he could be.


December 7th, 2012 at 1:31 PM ^

the nostalgic images of my childhood, but based totally on the eye test, Long was a much better player than Lewan is. Lewan is great, but Long went number one in the draft for a reason..


December 7th, 2012 at 2:53 PM ^


As the #1 draft pick, Long was clearly one of the best

Does anyone remember the biggest Left Tackle BUST in the NFL draft?  Drafted number 2 overall before a number of future Hall of Fame players.  Attended (graduated?) one of our favorite B1G sister schools.


December 7th, 2012 at 2:54 PM ^

Because he was more signable and demanded less money than Matt Ryan? Also, that year was terrible for QB's. Not saying Jake was underserving, but there were other factors to consider as to why he went #1. Going #1 overall does not mean you were the best lineman, err OT, in UofM's history. If he would have left a year early, he would have been the #2 OT on the board behind Joe Thomas. Hence, the reason he stayed for his senior year.