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?

Comments

JeepinBen

December 7th, 2012 at 2:11 PM ^

Did you have PED rumors surrounding your time in college? Put up surprisingly small numbers at the NFL combine when there was a different set of procedures and tests?

And then did you become a huge bust in the NFL under that set of PED tests?

Because if you did I'd say you may have been on Roids in college.

SmackJack

December 7th, 2012 at 1:39 AM ^

Taylor Lewan is the best ever if he has 20 pancakes, Fitz (or starting RB) has 1,500 rushing yds, Devin has 3,000 passing yds, we win the B1G championship, and we win the Rose Bowl. Oh, and if he doesn't go pro..

roosterbaan

December 7th, 2012 at 1:49 AM ^

i hope i am wrong, but i think he is going pro this year

i do think if he stays for his senior year he could reach a jake long level, though

would need a good year out of devin and a solid running back for it to be noticed, though

Needs

December 7th, 2012 at 12:01 PM ^

The new rookie salary structure in the NFL financially weighs against his staying. While Long stayed an extra year, being drafted #1 landed him a huge contract (5 years/$57 million, with $30 million guaranteed). Compare that to Luck's contract this past year of 4 years/$22.1 million, (all guaranteed).

Under the new CBA, it's the second contract, signed after the 4th or 5th year, that really breaks the bank. There's much less of a difference in being picked first vs. being picked 10th (in 2007 it was $57 million vs. $18 million; in 2012, it was $22 million vs. $12 million). There's incentive for Lewan to get to his second contract as soon as possible. (All this is dependent on him being rated a top 10-15 pick). If he's not rated one of the top 2-3 OTs, then he should think about coming back.

As an aside, there was a good Grantland article about how picking Megatron, Suh, and Stafford under the old system had totally screwed up the Lions salary cap.

 

Salary numbers:

2007: http://www.nfl.com/draft/story?id=09000d5d808c2409&template=with-video&…

2012: http://www.nfl.com/draft/story/09000d5d828f4621/article/contract-status…

Grantland article: http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/8676418/detro-albatross-contracts-r…

Excerpt: 

The bad news, though, is that the Lions were the last team to be truly hit by the loser's curse of perennially grabbing top-five picks under the old CBA. The rookie contracts of Detroit's big three — Stafford, Calvin Johnson, and Ndamukong Suh — produced about $108 million in combined guarantees on the day they were drafted. If a team like the Colts had three top-five picks in three years today, those picks would only cost about $60 million in guarantees and have far less onerous terms at the end of the (shorter) contracts. When the final year of Johnson's deal tied the Lions up with a $24 million cap hold this offseason and threatened to create a situation in which the Lions wouldn't have been able to franchise2 Johnson the following year, they were stuck with no leverage and forced to give Megatron a deal that guaranteed him $60 million, a 20 percent jump on the guaranteed cash given to previous record receiver Larry Fitzgerald. The extensions that Stafford and Suh are likely to receive in the near future will likely be of similar size, guaranteeing Detroit's stars around $180 million while preventing the Lions from building up the rest of their roster.

Marley Nowell

December 7th, 2012 at 2:02 AM ^

Jake Long played perfect football for 2 full years.  The 1 sack he gave up Senior Year was on a frosh Mallet.  Lewan could definitely reach Long's level next year but he will not surpass him.

angry byrne

December 7th, 2012 at 5:04 PM ^

Ah.  Thank you for spelling it out slowly for me--I for some reason I found the evidence of Long getting blown up and was thinking "this must be it!"  I am a moran.  A dum, dum, moran.  I attribute it to being Friday.  Here's a completely offtopic kitten for putting up with me:

Nick Sparks

December 7th, 2012 at 2:40 AM ^

Long was the best I can imagine. I walked past him once and just shook at the size of the man and reports said no one worked harder.  

And yeah Taylor is playing with a different o-line and without the leading rusher in U of M history behind him (Lond definitely had something to do with that but I still had some "wow" moments with Hart) but his words still put a little onion in my eye. This tradition is really something special.

turtleboy

December 7th, 2012 at 2:50 AM ^

It's gonna be a big switch going to the NFL and battling with the likes of Aldon Smith, Terrell Suggs, James Harrison, Jason Pierre Paul, Demarcus Ware, Von Miller, Jared Allen and their like. I'm sure Taylor is weighing very carefully if now is the time to take that step or not. I think he'll be a great NFL Tackle, though, and I'm sure he's gonna love to compete with those pass rushing beasts. He can go this year, and likely be the first lineman taken, but I wouldn't say him leaving is a guarantee. Wouldn't surprise me if he goes, wouldn't surprise me if he stays. Article really got me thinking about it.

Lutha

December 7th, 2012 at 2:46 AM ^

Whenever a young player is billed as the next whatever, it's rare that they ever fully live up that expectation.  I'm very proud of what Lewan has become both as a player and team leader.

mgoDave

December 7th, 2012 at 5:22 AM ^

It is tough to compare to Jake Long as he still stands as the only offensive lineman in history to go number 1 overall in the draft.  I am not sure that Lewan can live up to that, but then again who can?  I will say that Lewan is one of the best offensive lineman we have ever had and that is a very presitgious group of people coming from Michigan.  He is now the second person in a row to wear 77 and earn first team all American honors.

Magnus

December 7th, 2012 at 5:37 AM ^

Long was a more dominant run blocker.  That's the biggest area where Lewan needs to improve if he wants to reach Long's level; not that he doesn't have the talent, but he needs to be more consistent.   And I think Lewan could afford to add another 5-10 lbs.

Of course, that's if he comes back...

Jasper

December 7th, 2012 at 5:54 AM ^

Lewan vs. Clowney has to be one of the most intriguing 1-on-1 matchups this bowl season, doesn't it? Taylor probably has much to gain and (given Clowney's high profile) not *too* much to lose.

StephenRKass

December 7th, 2012 at 5:58 AM ^

I haven't read the article, but that's a very wise observation by Lewan. It is very difficult not to compare yourself to others. Ultimately, you have to be the best that you can be, in the context of the team you are part of.

Comparison of player A to player B is a fun pasttime. Records give some sense and ability to do this. However, there are too many variables for comparisons to work purely. In this case, it has to do with the play of the rest of the offensive line, and the ability of our current running backs. Comparison of Lewan to Long also really is affected by the play of the rest of the offense, and by the caliber of the defenses played against in a particular set of games.

Regardless, we can all agree that Lewan has been a good one, and is following great footsteps in not only Jake Long, but other tackles who have been part of MIchigan's tradition.

IBleedMaize_Blue

December 7th, 2012 at 7:02 AM ^

Lewan vs Clowney will be a great matchup as long as Clowney is fully healthy. From what they've said on espn he's been dealing with a nagging foot injury that has caused him to lose a step. Could require surgery at the end of the season. Hopefully the time off before the bowl game gets Clowney close to 100% so we can get a true assessment.