04/29/2012 - A closer look at the Lions' picks: Round 7/223 - Travis Lewis, OLB, 6-2, 246, Oklahoma...The Lions couldn't ignore his production at Oklahoma. He led the team in tackles four straight years. He also showed toughness. - The Sports Xchange
Brian "Boz" Bosworth is one of the biggest names in Oklahoma football history because of his production, larger-than-life personality and ability to bring the 1985-86 national championship to Norman. Lewis grew up in Texas, like Bosworth, and though he lacks the flashy style that made the Boz famous, the fact he broke the lauded linebacker's freshman season tackle record in his first year on campus gave people an idea of what was to come.
Big 12 coaches named Lewis their Defensive Freshman of the Year and second-team all-conference in 2008 because those record-breaking 144 stops included 11.5 for loss and 3.5 sacks, and he also showed quickly his ability in coverage with four interceptions and three pass break-ups. He earned first-team All-Big 12 accolades with excellent production in 2009 (109 tackles, 8.5 TFL, one sack, one INT, two PBU) and second-team honors in 2010 (109 tackles, 5.5 TFL, 1.5 sacks, three INT, five PBU).
Lewis had a career-low 83 tackles and played in only 12 games in 2011, but he played through injuries and still won merit with scouts.
He could have entered the draft early in 2011 because of he has all of the physical traits scouts like at the second level, possesses excellent instincts, and could play any second-level position his new team requires.
Read & React: Combines very good instincts with above-average reaction skills. Almost always finds the ball in traffic. Greet feel in coverage, sees quarterback and receiver, jumps routes to prevent completion, or at least stop yards after the catch. One-man wrecking crew against screens because he sniffs them out and has the quickness to grab the receiver.
Run defense: Tougher between the tackles than many expect. Gap-shooter that grabs backs before they get through the line, also willing to throw his body into the hole to create piles and stands up to blocks to stay in the play. Feels pulling lineman coming, capable of punching to stay clean or take the outside shoulder to keep runners from bouncing to the sideline. Lacks strength to blow up fullbacks and bulk/length to prevent getting engulfed by better lineman at the second level.
Pass defense: Fluid and quick drop into zone, covers enough ground to be Tampa-Two mike and knows where the markers are. Often arrives at the receiver at the same time as the ball, gives up few yards after the catch. Possesses straight-line speed stay with or chase down receivers in man. Creates turnovers with quick reaction time to bring in tipped balls, closes on balls over the middle or baits quarterbacks intro throwing his directions if they do not seeing his deep drop. Loses size battle to many tight ends, easily pushed away on out routes. Caught looking into backfield occasionally instead of getting to receiver in the flat. Tries to cradle throws at times instead of snatching them, resulting in dropped interceptions.
Tackling: As secure and reliable a tackler as you'll see in college football. Not necessarily explosive, but more physical than a chase-and-drag linebacker. Breaks down well in space, corrals elusive ballcarriers on the edge or inside by wrapping torso and holding on. Gets leverage inside to stop piles from moving forward. Leaves his feet at times, NFL backs will take advantage.
Pass Rush/Blitz: Works more in space than attacking the backfield, but flashes closing speed and agility to reach passers from the blind side or up the middle before they can escape. Knocks down some quarterbacks with just a glancing blow. Takes advantage of large holes to get to the quarterback, but must work on using violent hands to rip off lineman and defeat cut blocks from running backs. Also needs to build a variety of pass rush moves.
Intangibles: Team captain who leads the team on and off the field with words and by example. Four-year starter for one of the top programs in the country. No known character or off-field issues.