Barely more than 24 hours have passed since teams made their Round 1 picks in the 2014 NFL Draft. That doesn’t keep dozens of fans, writers and sports talk personalities from giving their opinions about each draft pick. Some people go as far as giving every team a grade based on their draft. These players haven’t even met their teammates yet…yet they received failing grades.
I don’t do grades for at least three seasons (warning: other staff members may do so). I do enjoy looking over what everyone else thinks about the pick. Why are experts and amateurs evaluating picks as ‘As,’ ‘Cs,’ or ‘Fs’?
Let’s take a look at how a few writers have evaluated Taylor Lewan as the No. 11 pick for the Tennessee Titans. Brace yourselves for some mixed reactions.
Pete Prisco (CBS Sports): C
I don’t get this pick after signing Michael Oher. Is this the end for Michael Roos? They had other needs.
Michael Schottey (Bleacher Report): B-
Lewan is going to be one of the best players on the Titans offensive line by year two or three (only Chance Warmack could be better), and that keeps one of the strengths of the Titans strong. He has some slight character red flags (well, major ones if they prove true, but they are currently only alleged), but Tennessee obviously wasn’t concerned about them.
The grade is so low because Lewan is a luxury pick after the team just signed Michael Oher for a bunch of money. Now, Lewan is already a better prospect than Oher is a player, but it’s still a curious pick when there are so many other needs on a really bad Titans team.
Chris Burke (Sports Illustrated): B
Not really sure how to grade this one, to be honest. Lewan is a plug-and-play starter in the NFL and is not all that far behind Greg Robinson and Jake Matthews on this year’s prospect list at tackle. But where are the Titans planning on plugging-and-playing him?
Oher is the obvious candidate to be cast aside … except he just signed a four-year, $20 million deal with $9.5 million guaranteed. Roos will turn 32 in October, so he’s closer to the end of his career than the beginning but remains a very steady hand. Warmack is not going anywhere, and Levitre should retain his starting spot if he’s healthy.
So, put an asterisk by this pick until the Titans explain their motives.
Matthew Fairburn (SB Nation): D
The risk: Taylor Lewan has run into a few incidents off the field and was just average as a senior.
The reward: Lewan has an ideal build for the position and could develop into a franchise tackle for the Titans. They needed to upgrade the offensive line, so they took the top player on their board.
Derek Stephens (NFLDraftScout.com): B
Starting left tackle and former All-Pro Michael Roos will be 32 years old this year and has only one year remaining on his contract. After selecting guard Chance Warmack in the first round last year, the Titans add yet another young building block to their O-line here, in the big, athletic Lewan. He’s a true tackle who can wall off the edge with consistency, and is solid with room to improve, as a run-blocker. His athleticism gives him the versatility to line up at guard if necessary, while waiting to assume a starting role on the outside in the future.
Unknown (Walter Football): A-
Taylor Lewan, or one of Michael Oher or Michael Roos will have to play guard in 2014. Lewan, of course, will be the left tackle of the future once Roos moves on, so this pick makes a ton of sense. Lewan was also arguably the prospect available, as Mel Kiper promised that he would not escape the top six. There are some character issues with him, but there’s no doubt that Jake Locker’s protection has improved tremendously. There are no now excuses for Locker.
Editor notes over these draft grades:
- 31-year-old Michael Roos was the only legitimate left tackle on the roster. Anything happened to him and the team would rely on Michael Oher or Byron Stingily, neither of which are qualified at anchoring anything more than right tackle…at most. Finding another left tackle was a need, albeit maybe not one that people wanted to spend a top-11 pick towards.
- Some people have mentioned one of the tackles moving to offensive guard. The Titans already have Andy Levitre and Chance Warmack. Barring injury, no chance of seeing someone relocate for one season.
- Matthew Fairburn gave Tennessee a ‘D’ because he believes Lewan was an average player last season. Apparently, surrendering zero sacks is average.
- People criticizing this pick either A – wanted one of the top quarterbacks, especially Johnny Manziel B – have emphasized short-sightedness and refuse to acknowledge anything beyond the 2014-15 season C – hate him because of his off-field issues that include rape allegations.
What’s your grade of the pick? Give it in the comments or respond on social media.