LB Travis Lewis (Oklahoma) - Round 7, Pick No. 223
The Detroit Lions' final pick of the 2012 NFL Draft was yet another defensive player and yet another Oklahoma Sooner. They went with linebacker Travis Lewis, who was the second linebacker they selected on the final day of the draft. Lewis is set to join former Oklahoma teammates Ryan Broyles and Ronnell Lewis in Detroit as draft picks of the Lions.
Strengths: Lewis plays with good instincts and is a technically sound tackler. Is at his best when he's playing on the weak side in 4-3 alignments. That allows Lewis is ranginess and natural athleticism.
Weaknesses: Plays with a lot of fire, which sometimes gets him in trouble because he'll over-pursue. Not the biggest or strongest linebacker, which will limit him some taking on blocks and shedding. Struggled with a broken toe as a senior.
Lewis was the first Sooner to lead the team in tackles for four consecutive seasons. He became the vocal and emotional leader of the Oklahoma defense. He was taken with the 223rd overall pick in the draft. His selection made him the seventh Sooner chosen which ties Oklahoma with Georgia for the second most players taken from the same school in the 2012 NFL Draft.
He's a bit undersized and doesn't tackle as well as you would like inside the box. However, he's a good run and hit backer who plays the run well and will be able to make plays vs. the pass game in the NFL. Looks like a day one starter to me as a 43 backer, either on the weak side or possibly in the middle.
Lewis was a four-year starter for the Sooners and the quarterback of their defense. He plays in one of the few true 3-4 schemes in college and has value in that he can do so at the next level. He is a strong tackler, a potential special teams contributor and has fourth-round value.
Positives: Tough, productive college linebacker with limited upside. Displays a terrific head for the ball, instinctive and quick to react. Chases the action hard, takes good angles to plays and remains disciplined with assignments. Fluid moving laterally, makes plays out to the sidelines and relatively effective in space. Squares into ballcarriers and wraps up when tackling.
Negatives: Slow moving in reverse and lacks a quick backpedal in coverage. Marginally effective on the blitz. Minimal burst to the action and lacks overall closing speed.
What he brings: He's a sound open-field tackler with good instincts, but has limited range and poor take-on skills. There are concerns about his ability to be an every-down player.
2008: 135 tackles, 3 sacks, 1 FF, 4 INT
2009: 99 tackles, 1 sack, 1 FF, 1 INT
2010: 109 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 3 INT
2011: 85 tackles, 1 sack, 2 FF, 1 INT
- Lewis vs. Iowa State (2010)
- Lewis vs. Miami (FL) (2009)
- Lewis vs. Kansas State (2008)
- Lewis' combine workout
- Lewis interview from 2010 Big 12 media days
- Another interview with Lewis from 2010 Big 12 media days
- One more interview with Lewis from 2010 Big 12 media days
- Lewis interview from 2011 Big 12 media days
- Another interview with Lewis from 2011 Big 12 media days
- Lewis works out at Athletes' Performance
- ProFootballWeekly's draft profile of Lewis
- NFL.com's draft profile of Lewis
Outlook for 2012
It's a bit surprising that Lewis fell to the seventh round when you look at what he did at Oklahoma. However, a rough showing at the NFL Combine apparently sent his stock into a nosedive, which turned out to be good news for the Lions. Of all the Lions' defensive draft picks, Lewis might be the most NFL-ready strictly in terms of experience. Of course, the Lions don't exactly have a huge need right now at linebacker with all of their starters returning. In that regard, Lewis is in the same boat as Tahir Whitehead. He will try to work his way into the rotation at linebacker, but early on most of his contributions will likely come on special teams.