While some might think there could be a run on quarterbacks at the top of the 2014 NFL Draft, it could be the offensive tackles who see their names called early and often. One player likely to be in that group walking up to the commissioner at the start of draft day is Michigan offensive tackle Taylor Lewan.
College Football 24/7 caught up with the mammoth lineman when he stopped by NFL Network studios to chat with him about everything from the draft process to handling Jadeveon Clowney.
What's your training regimen been like the last couple of weeks?
Taylor Lewan: My training has been Monday through Saturday for about three hours a day, then nutrition after that. I'm eating the right meals, lots of carbs, and doing those sorts of things.
Any private workouts or meetings with teams scheduled for the next couple of weeks?
TL: I have had a couple private workouts already and it will get a lot busier. I'm actually flying all over the country. I have a private workout the Atlanta Falcons on Monday (March 31), and that's the next one I know about. If I had my schedule in front of me, I (could) tell you everything.
When you go to meet with these teams, what is your pitch to them?
TL: When I talk to teams there's nothing they don't already know. The film is already out there and they know everything going forward about the off the field. It's really just about me learning about their system and what I need to do, then regurgitating that for them.
Any team in particular showing a bit more interest than others?
TL: I wouldn't exactly say, but most teams in the top 10 have contacted me quite a bit and are really trying to get to know me. It's honestly one of the most amazing experiences of my life.
Do you have any draft-day plans?
TL: I haven't really thought about it too much, but I think I will go to New York for the draft and sit there with my family and wait for my name to be called.
Michigan is mostly a football school, but how cool has been to follow the hoops the past couple of years?
TL: It's been awesome. I know all those guys. I'm proud of all of them. Doesn't matter what you do at Michigan, you're a fan of everybody because you're trying to make the University of Michigan a better place. It's great to see those guys like Jordan Morgan and Mitch McGary that I've had a couple of encounters with, I'm impressed with a bunch of them and happy for all of them.
A few folks around the Big Ten have given you the label of a dirty player. What's your response to that?
TL: As far as responding to it, I play to the whistle and I play as hard as I can. I think if I were on their team, they would be saying something different. My job isn't to get that publicity and be a "dirty player," it's to protect the quarterback and put my running back in position to get yards. I wouldn't take too much offense to it, I'd rather be a mean, nasty player than a soft guy.
Why should teams pick you ahead of guys like Greg Robinson and Jake Matthews?
TL: First off, those guys are amazing. Getting to sit down to know them and talk with him at the combine, they are unbelievable talents and unbelievable people. As far as myself, I think my game film shows what I can do as a player. It's amazing because I've only been an offensive tackle for four years now, that's it. I played one year in high school and then my college career was the only time I've played left tackle my entire life. My work ethic, the nutrition I put into my body, and basically the way my body looks. I take care of everything I do and I know that my body is my job and I love everything about it.
TL: I've talked to Jake a couple of times. Just talking to him and knowing this is the last time I'll ever go through something like this, it's crazy.
You were the fastest offensive lineman at the combine, have you been bragging about that?
TL: I haven't been bragging about it, but I have been extremely proud of the fact that I ran the fastest time. I didn't expect to run that time at all. I'm very happy for everything that's happened, but now that that is over and I'll never do a combine again, I can focus on the next thing, which is the next workout or interview.
A lot of people bring up your game against Clowney in the bowl. How would you grade yourself against him?
TL: I would say I played one of my best games ever in my college career.
What was your perspective on his big hit, though?
TL: My perspective is what actually happened. It was a strong-side power to the left side. Being the left tackle, I had the option to either double team with my guard to the backside linebacker or double team with the tight end. I made the decision to double team that 'backer with the guard. On that particular play, Clowney was not my responsibility.
During your time at Michigan, you played in a spread offense under Rich Rodriguez and a more pro-style attack under Brady Hoke. How does your knowledge of both systems help you at the next level?
TL: I think it helps me tremendously. I've played in the spread and pro style and everything in between. There's really no specific offense I haven't been in and, in my opinion, cannot do well in. I'm very prepared for the NFL and learning the schemes and plays of whatever team I land with is what I'll need to do.
First big purchase when you sign your contract will be ...?
TL: I honestly haven't even thought that far. The money isn't even the biggest part to me. Playing ball is all I'm excited about.