Well, I wasn’t expecting that one.
With their own first-round pick, 11th overall, in the 2014 NFL draft, the Tennessee Titans took Michigan offensive tackle Taylor Lewan.
Offensive tackle was an obvious need position with David Stewart’s decline in 2013, but after they signed Michael Oher to a big-money free agent deal I thought the chances of them spending a high pick on an offensive tackle were basically nil. That meant I didn’t watch Lewan in great depth.
He was a quality left tackle for the Wolverines for four seasons, adept in pass protection and a nasty run-blocker as well. He’s a worthy pick at #11, and I thought there was a reasonable chance he could be off the board by the time the Titans picked. He’s not quite an ideal left tackle in terms of movement, but he can play there, or at least he better play there given Oher is the alternative.
The big question is what does this mean for 2014? They’re not sitting Oher after paying him, and while he’s a free agent after 2014, Michael Roos is still the best player on offense. Given the pick of Lewan, though, what’s the point of keeping him on the team? He’s not young or cheap, so you might not get more than a mid-round pick, but why not explore the trade market for him? Even before the draft, I expected 2014 to be a major work in progress season where getting better, rather than winning as many games as possible, was the biggest priority.
More on Lewan after I watch him in more detail and think more about the pick.