My rundown through the entire first round of the NFL draft continues as I examine the New York Giants who hold the #12 pick in the first round.
The Pick: Taylor Lewan – OT – Michigan
Coaches always say they want their blockers to be physical, nasty and smart up front. Taylor Lewan embodies those traits coming out of Michigan. He isn’t the greatest athlete at the left tackle position but he’s much better than people realize, as evidenced by his solid scouting combine. He has the size and length to handle the best pass rushers and a mean disposition that makes him a force on the ground. Experience has helped him hone his technique in both areas, making him not only one of the most talented but most polished blockers in the 2014 class.
Why: Lewan is very near the same level as Jake Matthews
It’s not every day that a team gets a chance to land a legitimate left tackle that could hold down the position for a decade with the 12th pick in the NFL draft. Thanks to the presence of some very good talent at the top, including some intriguing quarterbacks, Lewan could be left outside the top ten thanks to the presence of Greg Robinson and Jake Matthews. The talent gap between the three of them is not very big though Lewan does have bouts of losing his temper that result in dumb penalties. The fact is he’s too good a player at too important a position to pass on.
Argument: C.J. Mosley could do a lot next to Jon Beason
There is no doubting the New York GIants offense needs attention but so does the defense. They’ve gotten by over the past few seasons on good-but-not-great players and have paid the price. Their linebackers and secondary are in special need of an upgrade, specifically in speed and athleticism. Their first hope is to hang on to Jon Beason, a linebacker acquired by trade who vastly helped an otherwise pitiful unit midway through last season. Aside from that, the best thing they could do is give him some help. C.J. Mosley, the smart, athletic, instinctive linebacker out of Alabama would make a perfect wingman and give the G-Men an excellent tandem who work well in coverage and against the run.
Counter-argument: Eli Manning drives the success of the Giants
It’s certainly a nice idea right up until one recalls that Eli Manning was sacked 39 times in 2013. That number might not sound overwhelming but it must be taken into account how many the savvy veteran was able to avoid thanks to his quick decision-making and pocket presence. Having so much heat in his face was a primary reason Manning threw 27 interceptions, a career high. One thing that has been proven for the New York Giants is that they have their greatest chances to win when Eli is protected and also is able to use a steady ground attack. That comes with getting better in the trenches. Adding a franchise left tackle is a great place to start.
That is why I would take Taylor Lewan if I were in charge. What are your thoughts?