Travis Lewis

Draft Grades: Detroit Lions

The Detroit Lions made significant strides in 2011, but have failed to make the necessary steps to build upon their playoff run. This draft class was an opportunity fill some holes, especially on defense, but GM Martin Mayhew failed to land any impact players on the defensive side of the ball.

Riley Reiff could have been a justifiable 1st-round pick if he filled an immediate need, but Lions don’t  have an immediate hole to fill on the offensive line. Jeff Backus may not have much time left in Detroit, however, so they could view Reiff as the future at left tackle. Unfortunately, Reiff does not project as an impact player on the left side, and would be better suited as a right tackle, where Gosder Cherilus appears to be entrenched.

Ryan Broyles is an intriguing prospect, but the 2nd round was far too early for an undersized receiver coming off a significant injury. This was the type of selection Lions fans thought they were free of when Matt Millen left the organization.

Dwight Bentley was also a reach in the 3rd round. He has some developmental value, but the Lions really needed to add an impact cornerback. Jayron Hosley and Brandon Boykin were both still on the board and are far more NFL ready than Bentley.

Ronnell Lewis has a chance to be a steal in the 4th round, but Lions will need to find the right place for him. In the 4-3 defense he could play end or strong-side linebacker.

Tahir Whitehead is a nice developmental prospect and was a solid value pick in the 5th round. He’ll likely compete for the backup role at strong-side linebacker.

Chris Greenwood was one of the Lions better selections. He’s raw and the level of competition is a definite concern, but his upside is undeniable. He may not provide much immediate help, but was well worth a flier in the 5th round.

Jonte Greene will compete with Bentley and Greenwood for playing time, but the Lions secondary is getting crowded. It’s unlikely that all three will be able to make the final roster cuts.

Travis Lewis is a great 7th-round pick. His upside is limited due to marginal athleticism, but he was a productive linebacker at Oklahoma and should be able to contribute as a backup and on special teams. He’ll likely compete with Doug Houge for the backup weak-side linebacker job.

The Lions failed to land any immediate help from this draft class, and the long-term value appears to be minimal as well. Reiff will likely earn a starting role eventually, but he is the only player from this class who realistically should be viewed as a long-term starter. This was a blown opportunity for the Lions.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Draft Grades - 2012, Lions Comments Off

Travis Lewis scouting report

Travis Lewis OLB Oklahoma #28
Ht: 6’1″

Wt: 246

Decent overall build. Adequate strength. Very reliable wrap-up tackler; can also deliver some big hits. Does a decent job in zone coverage; very patient, stays in his space and keeps his eye on the quarterback. Strong field awareness in every aspect of the game. A team leader on the field; smart football player who knows where to be and helps put teammates in position as well. Four-year starter.
Speed is a definite concern; lacks the straight-line speed to be a sideline-to-sideline defender at the next level. Agility in tight spaces is mediocre at best; not a consistent pass rush threat due to his lack of athleticism/speed/strength. Stiff hips hurt his ability to stick with tight ends in man coverage. Very physical in coverage in an effort to mask his lack of speed; can be an asset, but may lead to penalties if he doesn’t tone it down in the NFL. Missed one game in 2011 with broken toe.
Lewis is somewhat limited in terms of his physical tools, but his intangibles and experience should allow him to find a role at the next level. At worst, he should be a solid backup and special teams contributor.
2010 vs Iowa State
2010 vs UConn
2010 vs Florida State, Missouri, Nebraska 
Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Scouting Reports - 2012 Comments Off

Oklahoma DC Brent Venables trying to keep Travis Lewis in school

ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 04: Linebacker Travis Lewis  of the Oklahoma Sooners makes a fumble recovery against Roy Helu Jr.  of the Nebraska Cornhuskers during the Big 12 Championship at Cowboys Stadium on December 4, 2010 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Lewis has a future in the NFL, but he would be wise to return to school

It’s not often that coaches go on the record saying that a certain player needs to stay in school. Typically they give a bland statement along the lines of  ”he needs to do whats best for him and his family.”

So Oklahoma defensive coordinator Brent Venables statement about linebacker Travis Lewis comes as a mild surprise:

He needs to come back and improve himself in a variety of areas, and not go somewhere for a discount.”

While I think Venables should probably not go public with his opinion of Lewis’ future, I can’t argue with his assessment. Lewis is an impressive athlete, but far from a finished product. Another year under Venables could turn him into a 1st-round prospect.

However, this isn’t a great class of linebackers. Lewis may realize that he has an excellent chance to come off the board within the top 50-75 picks and decide that’s good enough for him. He also has a chance to skyrocket up the draft boards over the offseason. He’s an impressive athlete and could be a workout warrior at the combine.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2011 NFL Draft Comments Off