Tight end Marcedes Lewis played at the University of California-Los Angeles during his college career. He was regarded as one of the top tight end prospects in the nation coming out of high school in 2001 and pretty much lived up to his hype. Similar to tight ends Tony Gonzalez (Kansas City Chief) and Antonio Gates (San Diego Chargers), Lewis played some college basketball during his career.
Lewis became more involved in UCLA's offense as each year passed. This past season, Lewis led the team with 58 catches for 741 yards and 10 touchdowns. The production shows that even though he was the only receiving threat for UCLA, he was still able to find room against opposing defenses.
Lewis has the tangibles needed to become a tight end that will play a key role in a team's offensive gameplan. He has good size at 6-foot-6, 216 pounds. Lewis is fast enough to beat some of the slower linebackers in the league and physical enough to create a mismatch on some safeties.
In college, Lewis' speed allowed him to become a threat in the wide receiver position. Although a team will not draft him with intentions of making him a wide receiver, being able to move him in motion certainly creates more of an opportunity to expand the playbook. There are no issues with his hands, as he usually hauls in anything that is thrown his way.
Injuries are often a concern with college players, but there are no worries when it comes to Lewis. He never missed a game in college to injury and proved to be very durable. One thing that teams may really like in Lewis is that he is able to move off the line of scrimmage very well when the ball is snapped, which can allow teams to rely on him to quickly get a two- or three-yard gain for a first down.
Coming out of college, there are not a whole lot of weaknesses in Lewis. His only issue - like many pass-catching tight ends - is the fact that he is not a strong blocker. If a team is strong in the running game, Lewis will not be the best choice for them. After being an integral part of UCLA's offense last year, he will expect the ball often in the NFL. Being on the sidelines or being forced to block on a consistent basis will take him away from his strengths.
Although Maryland's Vernon Davis will probably be the first tight end selected in the draft, it is believed that Lewis is not too far behind him in regards to potential. Lewis will not be selected too early, but teams will start considering him in the latter parts of the first round or perhaps the early second.
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About Chris Pokorny
Chris Pokorny has been a KFFL contributor since 2005.
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