Offensive tackle Taylor Lewan is poised to become the first Wolverine to be taken in the first round since Brandon Graham in 2010, when the NFL Draft kicks off tonight.
After weeks of posturing and predicting, Lewan will probably hear his name called by the time the first hour has ended after draft coverage begins at 8pm on ESPN.
ESPN.com's draft guru, Mel Kiper, has Lewan going ninth overall to the Buffalo Bills.
"The Bills have been mentioned as a team that could move up, but they don't have a big arsenal of picks, and can stay put and still fill a big need, and with a player who I've said could have pushed to go No. 1 overall had he entered the draft last season," Kiper wrote. "Lewan has ideal length to play left tackle, but can come in and play on the right side, where he'll protect E.J. Manuel and add a nasty streak as a run-blocker."
ESPN colleague Todd McShay also predicted the Bills will select Lewan.
"Right tackle is arguably the Bills' biggest need entering the draft, and in this scenario they'd be getting a prospect in Lewan who spent his entire Michigan career playing left tackle," McShay penned. "So the Bills would have to be comfortable with his ability to convert to the right side, or with moving over incumbent left tackle Cordy Glenn -- but if they are, Lewan is a great value at this spot and would help stabilize the offensive line."
There have been some reports that Lewan would fall down draft boards stemming from a pair of off-field incidents during his Michigan career (recapped by the New York Post, but those issues appeared to have been allayed as he might go as high as No. 6 to the Atlanta Falcons, the Atlanta Journal Constitution forecasts in its final mock draft.
"He embodies the grit and ruggedness that the Falcons seek to instill in the offensive line," AJC.com writes. "He'll have to explain his role in allegedly making threatening comments to a rape victim while at Michigan. He also has a pending case. 'He's right there with [Auburn offensive tackle] Greg Robinson,' Kiper said. 'You can make an argument that he's better than Robinson. Right now, he is. Robinson may have better upside, but Taylor Lewan, right now is better.'"
Three out of five draft experts on CBSSports.com also have Lewan going to the Falcons, while the analysts at SI.com see the four-year starter at Michigan going ninth to the Bills.
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