Taylor Lewan battling Central Michigan's Eric Fisher as No. 2 NFL tackle prospect
ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. says Michigan junior Taylor Lewan wouldn't be the first offensive tackle selected if he declares for the NFL Draft.
But he could be the second.
Kiper said Lewan currently is No. 13 on his big board -- down from No. 8 last month -- but remains in contention to be the first tackle selected after Texas A&M's Luke Joeckel.
Lewan's biggest competition for that No. 2 spot, ironically enough, plays football only two hours north: Central Michigan's Eric Fisher.
"It's Eric Fisher or Lewan to be the second tackle off the board behind Joeckel," Kiper said Tuesday during a conference call with reporters. "Lewan, going back to the Ohio State game, was beaten one time, but overall was pretty solid this year, got better as the year went along.
"The situation there with Michigan producing a lot of offensive tackles for the NFL certainly helps."
Lewan was named an Associated Press first-team All-American on Tuesday, and also made the Walter Camp first team. He also was the Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year.
He has said he will wait until after Michigan's Jan. 1 matchup against South Carolina in the Outback Bowl to decide whether he will return for his senior season.
If Lewan leaves early, he could be hurt by not being eligible to compete in senior all-star games. Fisher is a senior and could play in the Senior Bowl.
"Some have Fisher ahead of Lewan, I have Lewan slightly ahead of Fisher," Kiper said. "The Senior Bowl for Fisher is going to be very important. That'll be a big week for him.
"Lewan can't go to all-star games as a junior. So a solid Senior Bowl week would put (Fisher) at No. 2."
Of course, Lewan will have his own chance to prove his merits when he battles South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney in the Outback Bowl. Clowney won the Ted Hendricks Award as the nation's top defensive end and has been named to several All-America first teams, including the AP.
As for Michigan's other draft prospects, Kiper said quarterback Denard Robinson could go as high as the second round (although not as a quarterback). Kiper's other draft candidates include DT Will Campbell, LB Kenny Demens, CB J.T. Floyd, DE Craig Roh, S Jordan Kovacs and WR Roy Roundtree.
"All those guys have a chance to at least be in the discussion," he said. "All those guys are draftable players on Day 3."
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