In the past NFL franchises got the opportunity to overlook character flaws when evaluating talent in hopes their production justified taking the risk. That process has slowly changed as evidenced by Tyrann Mathieu dropping to the third round after struggling with drugs and getting kicked off LSU’s football team and former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez who is on trial for murder likely expedited how teams evaluate players. Now it certainly will affect Taylor Lewan an offensive linemen out of the University of Michigan.
Lewan has already been predicted to go in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Yet, there’s no question that his past is going to come back to haunt him. During the 2013 season the Big Ten Conference decided that no discipline for admitted “dirty” plays against the Michigan State Spartans and at one point during the game pulled on the facemask of safety Isaiah Lewis while he was on the ground. He also got accused of hitting an Ohio State Buckeye fan in December and has denied his involvement.
Saying “I’m not going to get in too many details — I wasn’t in any fight. I didn’t hit anybody. I was really just trying to help out a situation and break up something. I really can’t go into any more details than that.”
While those two incidences will hardly register on the radar for teams it’s what happened in 2009 that will comeback to haunt the 22-year old. Lewan’s roommate Brendan Gibbons reportedly raped an 18-year old woman at a frat party and got arrested for it and no charges got filed. It only took Michigan until December 20th, 2013 to expel Gibbons almost four years after the rape.
Now what is Lewan’s role in this? Two teammates reported him for making threatening phone calls to the victim including “that he would rape her again if she pressed charges against Gibbons.” The Wolverines linemen wasn’t disciplined by the university and received only a verbal warning for University police for it even though the victim got a “wellness check” as a result.
Adding threats to a rape victim, admitted dirty plays and allegedly hitting a OSU fan all will make NFL teams think twice about drafting Lewan and justifiably so.