It’s way too early to start under-classmen declaring for the NFL Draft season, but hey when news breaks, news breaks.
This comes from our friends at Walter Football:
Sources close to the Oklahoma program have told WalterFootball.com that Lewis is likely to skip his senior season and enter the 2012 NFL Draft.
Lewis is in a tough spot because he probably needs another year at school, but off-the-field concerns are forcing him toward declaring early. The biggest reason why Lewis should possibly stay in school is the fact that he had a position change forced on him this season. After playing linebacker in 2010, Lewis was moved to defensive end this season. In 2010, Lewis had 37 tackles with five tackles for a loss, 3.5 sacks, three passes broken up and one interception. Almost all that production came in the last half of the season when Oklahoma started to feature Lewis.
Physically, Lewis is a beast. He is built like a truck and plays the game with violence. Last season, Lewis was a force who consistently dished out big hits. Lewis is listed at 6-foot-2, 244-pounds but that was before he switched to end, and since then, he looks like he has bulked up some more. In two games at end this season, Lewis has played well. He has 15 tackles with four tackles for a loss, 1.5 sacks and one pass defended. Those 15 tackles lead Oklahoma.
Academic issues is what will probably force Lewis to skip his senior season and enter the draft; even though he really needs another year to add more bulk and show league scouts that he can play multiple positions. The prevalence of the 3-4 defense in the league has created more need for outside pass-rushers and collegiate defensive ends who transition to outside linebackers in the professional ranks.
Of course, that trend is already starting to reverse itself a little bit, as more teams are bringing the 4-3 back. Tonight, Lewis and his Sooner teammates will take on the Mizzou Tigers, in a prime time match-up. Will Lewis’ issues become a distraction for the #1 team in the country? After beating a very good Florida State Seminoles team last week, OU fancy huh? Yes, they are. OU looks like a national title contender.
Lewis’ issues are reported to be strictly academic in nature, not of a legal or “off-the-field” umbrella term variety. Therefore, you shouldn’t see this affecting his draft stock a whole lot. There shouldn’t be red flags for “character concerns.”