A top 15 pick and millions of guaranteed dollars playing in the NFL or a chance at “unfinished” business with Michigan?
Wolverine offensive tackle Taylor Lewan, a perennial upper tier first round pick in the upcoming NFL Draft decided he would roll the dice and return to the University for one last shot at glory in Ann Arbor.
“A lot of people had questions about whether I was mature enough to go to the NFL right now, and if you play football, and you have a mind-set to play football, you don’t like to hear any criticism,” Lewan said. “With the game I played (against South Carolina), I think individually I played one of my best games I have in my career, and proved to myself I could go to the NFL and be successful.
“But when you go to a place like Michigan, the tradition here and everything it has to offer, what Coach Hoke has brought into my life and all the things he’s done for me, along with Coach Funk and Coach Borges … When you really go into detail about it and think and take the time to sit down, turn your phone off and think to yourself about all the things that are best for you, there was no doubt in my mind I have to return to the University of Michigan.”
Lewan’s decision is certainly commendable. Leaving millions of dollars on the table to return to the Wolverines shows great commitment and a strong character sense. Lewan is also giving himself one last opportunity to experience something that he’ll never experience again, the chance to play for the Michigan Wolverines.
But something else that you don’t see to often, or ever if you’re a college player is the chance to be drafted by an NFL team within the top 15 picks and earn guaranteed money. Lewan essentially had the opportunity to be set for life playing the game he’s sacrificed his health and countless hours to become one of the top offensive linemen in the nation this past season.
Then there’s the matter of next season.
After holding his own against Jadeveon Clowney, arguably the best college player this past season, Lewan’s draft stock isn’t going to get any better heading into next years draft. And in addition to a losing situation in terms of that draft stock, Lewan runs the risk of injury and/or off the field issues something that has plagued many college players in the past that have decided to return for their senior seasons.
Bottom line, entering the NFL Draft as a top of the line junior offensive tackle is a much better financial option than senior entering with an extra year of college mileage.
NFL career’s aren’t guaranteed but it looks like Lewan passed up on the next best thing.