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Taylor Lewan stays at Michigan despite first-round draft grade

Taylor Lewan, Cameron Meredith, Ciante Evens AP

Michigan left tackle Taylor Lewan has made the surprising decision to return to school for his senior year and wait until 2014 to enter the NFL draft.

Lewan says he has been told he would be a first-round pick if he came out this year, but he has more he wants to accomplish in college before he’s ready to make the jump to the pros.

“When you say NFL and the first round, that sounds amazing,” Lewan said, via MLive.com. “But when you play at the University of Michigan, whether it’s basketball, hockey, football, there’s a tradition here and it’s something you want to be part of. If I do what I need to do, I’ll be able to play in the NFL for however long — but you only get one more year of college. Every kid grows up wanting to be a pro athlete — most want to be pro football players — and to know I had that opportunity was a great feeling. But like I said before, I have unfinished business here. Came in in 2009, and I want to finish with my class.”

Lewan said he talked to former Michigan offensive tackle Jake Long, who completed his NCAA eligibility and was the first overall pick in the 2008 NFL draft, and Long told him he has no regrets about staying at Michigan as long as he could.

“I asked him why he stayed, and it’s funny: Every single thing he said about staying at the University of Michigan went through my head countless times. It’s kind of interesting to think we had the same mind-set going into this thing,” Lewan said.

Although Lewan is risking injury by returning to school, it’s also possible that a good senior season could send his stock higher: If Lewan had entered this year’s draft he likely would have been the second offensive tackle off the board, following Luke Joeckel of Texas A&M. With another strong year at Michigan, Lewan could be the first offensive lineman drafted in 2014.

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12 Responses to “Taylor Lewan stays at Michigan despite first-round draft grade”
  1. philvil41 says: Jan 10, 2013 9:12 AM

    I’m sure he will have an insurance policy that covers him in case he suffers a career ending injury while at Michigan.

  2. 3yardsndust says: Jan 10, 2013 9:20 AM

    Good for him. Tough decision.

  3. nflofficeadmin says: Jan 10, 2013 9:27 AM

    What the ROI of that decisions… not good enough in all likelihood.

  4. ras1tafari says: Jan 10, 2013 9:45 AM

    He is VERY smart. He probably knows that the first few picks will be the Alabama OL/DL, so why not wait a year and almost be guaranteed a top 5 pick?

  5. metzgerf says: Jan 10, 2013 9:54 AM

    Definitely a good decision by Lewan. As a Michigan fan, I gained some respect for him. I honestly didn’t have much before. In my opinion, he’s not worth a first round pick right now. Too many dumb mistakes and can’t shut down the best college DE’s on a consistent basis. But it sounds like he’s got a good head on his shoulders. I hope he improves next year, takes Michigan to a great bowl game and earns a high draft pick into the NFL.

  6. Kreedos says: Jan 10, 2013 9:58 AM

    As a Cards fan this is pretty heavy news. Between Lewan and Matthews, our options are slim with the 7th pick.

    Maybe we can find a trade partner and draft Chance out of Alabama.

  7. rufustfireflyjr says: Jan 10, 2013 10:02 AM

    Hmmm, return to Michigan as a big-time, All-American college hero football player, or fulfill a childhood dream and earn guaranteed big bucks as a first-round NFL draft choice? Sounds like a win-win scenario to me.

  8. Kreedos says: Jan 10, 2013 10:10 AM

    Would also be cool if the Cards could break the bank open for Jake Long this off season.

  9. eatitfanboy says: Jan 10, 2013 10:35 AM

    A player has X amount of years of football in him. If this guy has 15 years left, that means he just chose to play one of those years for free.

    And with the rookie wage scale, there is no way that the extra money he will get next year by being drafted higher will equal the total amount of money he won’t make this year. AND, there is no guarantee that he moves up by playing another year. Ask Matt Leinart about that.

    If you were in college, and you knew that the degree you were going to get would have no bearing on what you planned on doing for a living when you got out, would it be smart to turn down a multi-million dollar job offer after your junior year because you think college is fun?

    And yes, he will get an insurance policy. Which means that he really won’t be playing for free- he will actually be paying to play a sport that someone is willing to give him millions of dollars to play now. And the insurance payout will likely be in the 1-2 million dollar range, a fraction of he would make in the NFL.

    The kid is free to do what he wants. But lets not act like it’s necessarily the smart decision to stay.

  10. kacapaco says: Jan 10, 2013 11:26 AM

    Kudos for him. I love youngsters who see the long term benefits of finishing college on time. Also, the lesser time in pro-football, the healthier they get in the long term.

  11. rcali says: Jan 10, 2013 11:37 AM

    One bad injury and he’s just another college grad looking for any job available in a stuck in the mud economy. Hope that insurance pays well.

  12. buckeye2280 says: Jan 10, 2013 12:21 PM

    LoL,

    Congrats you get to come back to school and get beat by The Ohio State University again. You will go 1-3 in your career.

    On a serious note, dumb move. He was a high first round pick as is and his stock is not going to go up any higher. Cyrus Kouandjio will be the top tackle next year if he comes out. I think if you are a first round pick you go, get your money and they pay for your final year of school and degree. If you get hurt and the millions of dollars disappear, the chance of you ever earning anywhere near what he was to be paid in the NFL is almost 0.

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