Round 5, Pick #143: Alex Lewis, OT, Nebraska
Reggie McKenzie can’t get all the way through a draft and not draft an offensive lineman, so look for him to do it with the pick the Raiders received from Dallas in the Brice Butler trade and take talented but sometimes troubled offensive tackle Alex Lewis from the University of Nebraska. Not unlike previous drafts, McKenzie will show his willingness to risk it on some off-the-field issues with a late round pick, and if Lewis is still on the board at #143 it makes sense, especially as his father Bill Lewis and McKenzie were teammates on the Raiders for three years (Lewis was a 7th round pick of the Raiders in 1986).
Lewis is a capable offensive tackle who is tall and relatively lean at 6’6″ and 312 pounds, with ideal frame and athletic ability for a blind side protector but with his slow feet may be a better fit on the right side as a developmental project. He has adequate physical strength to play the position but struggles to generate power and often relies too heavily on leverage and arm reach to block. That said, he’s better on tape than any other offensive lineman who’s likely to fall into the fifth round, and many of his issues can be corrected by good coaching. At least as far as on the field.
The Jet Press
Off the field, Lewis is a minor mess. He began his career at Colorado in 2011, and spent two years there, starting 15 games and appearing in 24. In May of 2013, he was arrested for a serious assault on an Air Force Academy cadet, and spent 45 days in jail for the crime. He transferred to Nebraska to finish out his college career, redshirting in 2013 before returning to the field in 2014. Lewis was made team captain at Nebraska, but also made a negative splash there after a Twitter rant lashing out at Nebraska fans who had criticized him following a loss.
But good bloodlines, including a direct link to the Raiders and Reggie McKenzie himself, proven ability at a high level in college, and a dearth of available offensive line talent in the later rounds of this draft make Lewis, if available, a good pick. I like the idea of keeping Raider family together, so I hope this can happen for the young man, who would benefit from being around Mike Tice and a very mature and close-knit Raider offensive line unit.
Next: Raiders Draft Wishlist: Round 5