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Re-visiting the 2014 NFL Draft debate over Taylor Lewan

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The rookie is now Tennessee's starting left tackle, and is playing well

Taylor Lewan
Taylor Lewan
Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Taylor Lewan is a guy we spent an inordinate amount of time arguing about here at Big Blue View prior to the 2014 NFL Draft. So, with the New York Giants facing Lewan and the Tennessee Titans this week this seems like a good time to re-visit the Lewan topic and see how things are working out for the Titans rookie left tackle.

This debate, incidentally, isn't to say the Giants should have taken Lewan over Odell Beckham had the opportunity presented itself. It didn't, of course, because Tennessee selected Lewan one pick before the Giants grabbed Beckham. In terms of the Beckham pick, things are obviously working out just fine. It is really just about going back and looking whether the concerns about Lewan, and the gnashing of teeth about the possibility of the Giants drafting him, were justified.

Before we go forward, though, we have to back up and review. You will recall that I chose Lewan for the Giants in the Big Blue View Community Mock Draft. We covered Lewan extensively leading up to the draft. Many of the links to that coverage can be found in this post, along with plenty of discussion about other guys we thought might the selection at No. 12. None of those, incidentally, was Beckham.

Anyway, Lewan, a hulking, terrific talent coming out of Michigan with a history of off-the-field issues was a divisive force in our pre-draft discussion.

So, what kind of player has Lewan been in his first year for the Titans? A pretty darn good one, actually. Pro Football Focus gives him a +2.2 grade. He has a +5.2 run-blocking grade and is hurt by having committed five penalties. Lewan has surrendered four sacks.

Let's put those numbers in some perspective.

How does Lewan compare to the offensive tackles taken ahead of him? Greg Robinson, taken second overall by the St. Louis Rams, has a -18.9 PFF score . In weeks 11 and 12, against Denver and San Diego, Robinson had a combined score of -15.4. That's Charles Brown-esque. Jake Matthews, taken sixth by the Atlanta Falcons, is ranked worst among 77 tackles graded with a -34.6 score. Yes, -34.6! He has committed 10 penalties, allowed six sacks and surrendered 33 hits or hurries.

The only full-time Giants lineman who has played better than Lewan is Will Beatty (+11.5). Want to know how much the Giants are missing without Geoff Schwartz? In his limited time, he compiled a +3.9 PFF grade. The five lowest PFF grades on the Giants' offense belong to offensive linemen -- Charles Brown (-6.4), Justin Pugh (-7.6), Weston Richburg (-14.9), J.D. Walton (-15.0), John Jerry (-19.9).

Jimmy Morris of SB Nation's Titans web site, Music City Miracles has been impressed by Lewan's work thus far:

"He has been fine so far off the field. When you listen to interviews with him, he seems like a guy that learned his lesson from the things that he did while in school (of course as soon as I say that something will come out that he has done).

"He has been solid on the field so far. He didn't begin the year as the starter, but stepped in when Michael Roos went down with an injury. He isn't as good yet in pass protection as Roos was, but he is already a better run blocker. The dude is a mauler and will most likely be the Titans left tackle for the next decade."

Your thoughts on Lewan, Giants fans?