CBS Sports draft analyst Rob Rang Friday called the off-the-field concerns about Michigan offensive tackle Taylor Lewan, including charges stemming from a December fight, "a non-story" among NFL teams.
"Every team I've spoken to that has demonstrated some interest in Taylor Lewan basically feels that it's a non-story," Rang said during an appearance on Big Blue Kickoff Live with John Schmeelk. "This is more a situation of circumstance rather than a guy looking for trouble. I have not heard of any team that has taken him off the board."
That dovetails with opinions I've gotten from other NFL talent evaluators, including long-time NFL scout and current National Football Post columnist Greg Gabriel. Lewan, of course, visited the Giants on Thursday.
"He won't get to the Giants," Gabriel told me. "The guy is a top 10 tackle. He's better than the guy who went first in the draft last year [Eric Fisher], so why is he gonna go below 10 in the draft this year? It's not gonna happen."
"I believe Taylor Lewan does have a good chance of being available to the Giants. If he is available I really believe that he should be very much in consideration of being their pick," Rang told Schmeelk. "You've gotta keep Eli Manning feeling good in that pocket. I think that you'll see an incredible bounce-back season for him."
Schmeelk also asked Rang about some of the other players commonly associated with the Giants at No. 12 in the upcoming draft.
Rang said there is only a "slim chance" Texas A&M wide receiver Mike Evans, the apparent man-crush of Giants' wide receiver Victor Cruz, will be available. [Prospect Profile]
"There is a chance if the quarterbacks start to go off the board," Rang said. "I don't think Mike Evans should be there, I think he's a top 10 pick. I think he's one of the elite prospects in this draft."
"I do believe he's going to be there for the Giants at No. 12 and I think he absolutely should be in consideration," Rang said. "He and Taylor Lewan in my opinion are either going to go to the Buffalo Bills at No. 9 or slide down to the Giants at 12. They make sense for both clubs."
Ebron's blocking has been questioned, as has his consistency as a pass catcher. Rang opined that teams needs to look past those things, saying Ebron "Has the raw tools that you're looking for and that you must invest a high pick to get because he can be a difference-maker."
Rang also said that Pitt defensive tackle Aaron Donald is "one of the wild-cards" of the draft and could go anywhere from No. 5 to No. 16. Rang believes he should be in play for the Giants if he is still on the board at No. 12. [Prospect Profile]
"If he is available to them at 12 even more than Ebron, even more than Taylor Lewan I believe that Aaron Donald is among the safer players in this draft," Rang said.
What does all of this mean? Probably not much, other than it's more evidence that no two draft analysts are going to see things unfolding the same way. It's also more evidence that pushing the draft back two weeks is simply annoying. All we have at this point, when we should be having the draft, is more talk, rumor and wild speculation.
Most likely, all of the aforementioned players are possibilities for the Giants at No. 12 should they still be available. Notre Dame offensive lineman Zack Martin and LSU wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. are probably also on the list, and maybe even some of Jesse's 'dark horse' candidates.