This left tackle is an ex defensive lineman who has a mean streak. He's a very solid pass protector with a strong base and enough power to anchor against pass rushers. He's also a solid run blocker. If he would have came out last year he would have been right behind Joeckel and Fisher. He has prototypical left tackle size with quick feet and a crazy competitive nature.
STRENGTHS: With good height and length, he looks the part and has the frame to play on the left side at the next level, adding nearly 50 pounds since his senior year in high school. Possesses quick feet. A former defensive lineman, Lewan is known as a self-starter with a mean streak and nasty attitude on the field, but also became more of a leader as a junior in 2012.
He keeps his head on a swivel and has the competitive drive to win one-on-one battles. Demonstrates enough lateral agility and balance in his kick-slide to maintain the edge, while also possessing the strength to lock up his opponent.
Skill-Set Summary: Even though Lewan steadily improved over the course of the 2012 season, he isn't quite a finished product. The junior could use more development before going pro. His run blocking is ahead of his pass protection.
Lewan is reliable pass-blocker, but still needs work on his overall technique. He could stand to improve his quickness in getting depth in his drop. Lewan can reach too much at times as well. He anchors well against bull rushers, but could use some work on speed rushes to the inside for the NFL.
Lewan needs to continue to work on his knee bend. He has a tendency to stand up too tall and that gives him problems adjusting to speed-rushers cutting to the inside. That is a common area of improvement for tall offensive tackles and young NFL linemen in general. However, the height gives Lewan great length to protect the edge.
In the ground game, Lewan has good strength at the point of attack. He can push defensive linemen off the line of scrimmage and open up holes for his ball-carriers. Lewan has enough athleticism and quickness to fire out for blocks on the second level.
Lewan could fit in the NFL in either a zone-blocking system or a power-man scheme. He would probably be best in a power-man scheme. It wouldn't be surprising if there is talk of Lewan moving to right tackle in the NFL during the lead up to the 2014 NFL Draft. That could be his best fit and make him more dominant. Most offensive linemen of his stature are right tackles. If Lewan is drafted at left tackle, he could always move to the right side if that proves to be a better fit for him, but if teams view him as a right tackle it will probably hurt his draft stock and push him lower.
Pass Protection: This is where you really have to scrutinize Lewan to see if he will be a left tackle or not. I think he can stick at either position, I just think he will be a superior player on the right side. But finding a stud left tackle is hard to do, and finding an adequate one is usually enough to satisfy a NFL team (see the extension the Falcons just gave Sam Baker this offseason) and I think Lewan has the skillset to be an adequate pass protector on the left side. He doesn’t have ideal short, choppy steps in pass protection and his footwork reminds me some of Jake Long when he came out of Michigan. He doesn’t change directions as well as you would like for a blind side pass blocker and that is why he is going to have so much trouble with smaller, quicker pass rushers in the NFL. He matches up fine with bigger, stronger pass rushers, but the explosive, quick guys have given him problems. Like I mentioned earlier, I think he needs to work on his hand placement and not let his hands get so far outside in pass protection. He definitely has a tendency to hold and that becomes a lot more obvious when he lets his hands get outside on the shoulder pads, but in general he keeps them between the numbers. His struggles really start when a pass rusher slaps his hands away or negates his ability to engage him. This was evident in every game I watched of him, whether it was Michael Buchanan (who weighs about 60 pounds less than Lewan), Prince Shembo or Jadeveon Clowney, if they knocked his hands away and prevented him from engaging he had a lot of issues. He was fine against bigger, stronger pass rushers like William Gholston or Clowney when they tried to bull rush him 1 on 1, but he didn’t fare as well against explosive moves, particularly to the inside. He needed help from his left guard or from a running back against Clowney when he went inside on him and I think that is one weakness that Lewan has. He regularly tries to take away the speed rush but that makes him vulnerable to the inside move because he doesn’t have the quickest feet and doesn’t change directions quick enough to recover sometimes. Overall, I think Lewan can be a reliable pass protector, but he’s going to need chips from TE’s and RB’s and occasionally help from his inside guard against more dynamic, explosive pass rushers.
Run Blocking: This is generally the strongest aspect of Lewan’s game. He generates quality push off the ball when asked to block man to man, he has the athleticism to get out of his stance and wall defenders off, and he can move well enough to pull and get to the second level. Much like in pass protection he struggles against quicker defenders though, particularly when he’s pulling or trying to reach a linebacker. Quicker players that can avoid engaging him can give him trouble, and because he isn’t agile or quick enough to react and still make the block there are times he barely gets his hands on the defender before they have essentially avoided his block completely. He’s at his best when he can lock on, drive his legs and generate push off the ball or when he can block down on defensive tackles. He can generate pancakes either way. I don’t think he’s going to be an ideal fit in a zone blocking scheme, but he can execute zone concepts (though I don’t have notes on him as a cut-blocker). There are times when he leans too much and has issues with balance and he gets tossed aside like a rag doll which really concerned me. It doesn’t happen often, but when Michael Buchanan throws Lewan to the ground despite giving up 60 pounds (at least) it makes you wonder. He’s definitely a good run blocker, but it bothers me to see him shed so easily at times.
Overall: Lewan is a quality offensive tackle prospect and I’ve got a 1st round grade on him, but I don’t think he is a franchise left tackle. Jake Long was a superior prospect in my opinion, and I thought he could be an all-pro at right tackle even though he has had a relatively successful career on the left side. Lewan won’t be quite as good as long on the left side and I don’t think he has the same dominant upside on the right either. Still, I think he could be an adequate left tackle and that warrants top 20 consideration even if he ends up being a superior player on the right. He’s going to need help against stud pass rushers, particularly quicker, more explosive guys that can keep him from locking onto them, but he will be a plus run blocker on the left side and shouldn’t need consistent help unless he’s facing a truly elite talent (such as Jadeveon Clowney). He’s going to have his struggles on the left side, but I love his motor and tenacity and that makes me think that even if he doesn’t have the ideal left tackle skill set he will still have a long, successful career either on the left or the right. Perhaps he will never be dominant on either side, but I think he will be effective.