February 23, 2014 at 6:13 pm

Impressive combine by U-M's Taylor Lewan solidifies high draft projection

Michigan's Taylor Lewan runs a drill at the NFL combine on Saturday. (Michael Conroy / Associated Press)

Indianapolis — Michigan offensive tackle Taylor Lewan had an impressive performance at the NFL combine Saturday, running the fifth-fastest 40-yard dash by an offensive lineman in the last nine years.

While Lewan’s 4.87-second run and all-around testing was impressive, NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said Sunday it likely wasn’t enough for Lewan to move ahead of fellow tackle prospects Jake Matthews (Texas A&M) or Greg Robinson (Auburn).

“When linemen have big days like that,” Mayock said of Lewan, “I get excited and I love it, but it doesn’t change my rankings really. It shows me he’s athletic, which I already thought he was.”

Although Lewan is widely considered the third-best tackle in the draft, Mayock said he is a top-10 talent overall. And Lewan’s performance at the combine should certainly help him be a top-10 pick in May’s draft.

Last year three offensive tackles — Central Michigan’s Eric Fisher, Texas A&M’s Luke Joeckel and Oklahoma’s Lane Johnson — were selected in the first four picks. This year’s draft class is stronger at quarterback and other positions, which could push Lewan back.

“I think all three of those tackles (this year) are probably better than the tackles as a group that we had last year, and they went one, three and four last year," Mayock said. "It’s a different draft class, but in my opinion those three tackles are top-10 talents.”

jkatzenstein@detroitnews.com

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