Should the Rams decide to bolster their stable of offensive linemen by choosing Michigan’s Taylor Lewan in this year’s draft, locating a mentor for the would-be rookie through his first NFL season would be rather simple.
The comparisons to Rams left tackle
The bond between the two left tackles goes beyond an alma mater and similar draft stock, however. The two have consulted often throughout Lewan’s collegiate career, a line of communication that recently included a phone call from Long to Lewan following Michigan’s appearance in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl to begin preparation for the NFL draft. This came one year following Lewan consulting Long in his decision to return to the Wolverines following his junior season. Long’s efforts to reach out to his fellow Michigan alum, as well as his style of play, have made an impact on Lewan.
“Jake is a phenomenal person,” Lewan said. “He called me and texted me the moment my bowl game ended and said he’s there to help. He’s a fundamentally sound technician. He plays through the whistle and that’s one of the ways I would like to play in my career, however long it lasts.”
Lewan has made a habit of reaching out to Long throughout his collegiate tenure, as well as other former Michigan linemen who went onto prosperous NFL careers, a group that also includes former Pro Bowlers Steve Hutchison and Jon Runyan. Playing the same position and wearing the same jersey number as Jake Long at Michigan, however, created its own set of expectations. It’s a legacy that Lewan hopes to take one step further in May, when Lewan could become yet another first-round Michigan selection in the NFL draft.
“It was a pretty big shadow, and those were huge shoes to fill,” Lewan said of replacing Long at Michigan. “He’s always going to have a lasting impression on the University of Michigan, and I hope I do as well.”