Taylor Lewan had to wait longer than expected.
But when his moment finally came in the first round of the NFL draft, he gave a wide grin to the ESPN camera as it focused in.
Lewan, the former Michigan offensive tackle, fell below most of the projections, but was finally picked at No. 11 by Tennessee.
"I had no idea where I'd go," he told Tennessee reporters on a conference call. "I knew when I came to Nashville and I talked to them it was an unbelievable experience -- just the feeling of the city, the feeling of the town, being around everybody. I literally could not have gone to a better place, not just because of football, but also everything that surrounds it."
From the Titans' perspective, there was no hesitation when Lewan fell to them.
Even though they have two established tackles, they grabbed Lewan, expecting him to be gone in the first eight selections.
"The bottom line was he was the best player on the board when it was our pick," Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt said at the news conference in Tennessee, broadcast on the team website. "When it's an offensive lineman, especially a left tackle and he's the best player on your board? That's a pretty important thing."
General manager Ruston Webster put it more simply.
"We grade on levels and he was on a different level," said Webster, adding how difficult it is to get left tackles.
Lewan was the first Big Ten player selected in the draft.
The existing Titans tackles -- Michael Roos and recently signed Michael Oher -- caught the attention of the commentators on ESPN as Mel Kiper Jr. called selecting Lewan "mind-boggling," based on the existing roster.
Jon Gruden agreed that it was an unusual pick but thoroughly endorsed Lewan, saying, "You can't find a man with that size, athleticism and experience. I'm sure Ken Whisenhunt will find something for him to do."
Lewan isn't concerned with the existing players and expects to get a chance.
He was the third offensive tackle picked in the draft behind Auburn's Greg Robinson to St. Louis at No. 2 and Texas A&M's Jake Matthews to Atlanta at No. 6, a spot where many thought Lewan would go.
It was a breakthrough selection for the Wolverines, who have only had one previous first round pick since 2008, when Jake Long went No. 1 overall. At least in Tennessee Lewan will have a familiar face in former teammate Mike Martin, a 2012 draftee.
A two-time All-America, Lewan was the Big Ten offensive lineman of the year the past two seasons and that talent and athletic ability stood out to the Titans.
Webster called his style "smart, athletic and tough to the point he has a nasty streak," which Lewan gladly embraces.
"By playing nasty, by playing through the whistle and trying to put guys in the dirt every single time," Lewan said. "I don't care if it's (Jadeveon) Clowney or some (player) on third team off some random team. I don't care who I'm going against. I'm going to play at the level I need to play at no matter what."
As for Lewan's pending assault charges, headed for an Ann Arbor court for a May 19 arraignment, Webster wasn't bothered and said they addressed the issues with Lewan on his visit.
Lewan explained his side of that story to the reporters.
"I kind of gave them the brief story that I was completely breaking things up," he said of the Dec. 1 incident, where he is accused of punching an Ohio State fan in Ann Arbor. "I did push guys to get everything out of the way. I never struck a man closed fist or anything of that nature. The thing is, I explained to them everything and told them the truth, that's what it was. I'm happy that they believed me."
(c)2014 Detroit Free Press
Visit the Detroit Free Press at www.freep.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services