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Analyzing Taylor Lewan’s play in a contract year

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Taylor Lewan is entering the final year of his rookie contract in Tennessee, and he’s worth a huge extension.

NFL: Tennessee Titans at Arizona Cardinals Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Tennessee Titans have what is widely regarded as one of the best offensive lines in the league, and left tackle Taylor Lewan is the fiery leader of this line. Notable for his quality of play in addition to his emotions on the field, Lewan has been selected to the Pro Bowl twice in his career (2016 and 2017), and is heading into the fifth year of his career in the NFL, all with the Titans.

Lewan is entering a contract year with the Titans, and the expectation is that the team will extend him and keep him in Nashville for a long time. So, with that in mind, just how good is the tackle out of Michigan? Let’s take a quick look.

gamepass.nfl.com

As a pass protector, Lewan is good but not quite as good as other top left tackles. While he has some trouble holding the fort against some of the game’s top pass rushers, he has solid hand techniques and is able to defend well against the spin move, such as the play above. other top left

gamepass.nfl.com

On this play, Lewan shows off his excellent footwork. Here, he bends his feet as the pass rusher Yannick Ngakoue tries to get around the edge, allowing him to use his hands up high and give himself the leverage. Lewan is able to recognize that Ngakoue is trying to set up a chop move, so he deflects his hands and allows himself to help give Marcus Mariota a clean pocket.

gamepass.nfl.com

Lewan’s vision as a pass blocker is also invaluable. Here, Lewan is able to recognize the stunt and is able to protect Mariota inside as the stunt rushers switch positions. Mariota is able to get the pass off in time.

Now, I’ve gotten questions about how good Lewan can be in Matt LaFleur’s zone blocking scheme. When the Titans did run zone blocking, Lewan transitioned quite well, a testament to how good his athleticism is.

The zone scheme should provide dividends with the run game, which is an area of blocking that shows Taylor Lewan at his best.

Taylor Lewan: The rare Titans player to have a successful season in spite of Mike Mularkey and Terry Robiskie.
gamepass.nfl.com

Lewan’s value comes into full play as a run blocker. He’s a powerful blocker that contributes to giant passing lanes. In the zone blocking scheme, Lewan should be able to create even bigger holes for backs to run through.

So, what kind of contract does Taylor Lewan deserve? Well, he’s not as good as Trent Williams or Tyron Smith, but he’s definitely a top 10 player at the position. If Matt Kalil can be paid $55 million to underwhelm at the left tackle position, then Lewan deserves more.

Currently, Tyron Smith of the Cowboys is the highest paid left tackle with a $97.6 million contract according Spotrac. Second is Trent Williams of the Redskins with a contract of $66 million. So, a contract extension of at least $60 million would not be a bad option for a player of Lewan’s quality.

To conclude, Taylor Lewan is one of the best left tackles in football. He’s a good pass blocker and a great run blocker. It would do the Titans a lot of good to lock down their best offensive lineman for a long, long time to help solidify a quality line.