Lewan could be ideal for Giants, except ...

INDIANAPOLIS -- Former Michigan tackle Taylor Lewan, a potential New York Giants draft pick, tried to clear his name Thursday in connection with a rape case that rocked his campus.

Lewan's former teammate, kicker Brendan Gibbons, was thrown out of school in December for reportedly violating the school's student sexual misconduct policies in 2009, when he was accused of rape by another student. The alleged victim accused Lewan of threatening her, claiming he said he wanted to rape her if she pursued charges against Gibbons.

Speaking before 20 or 30 reporters at the NFL scouting combine, Lewan insisted he made no such comment.

"It’s a situation between two people,” Lewan said, alluding to Gibbons and the woman. “I’ve said a lot of dumb things, but those are not things I’ve said. I would never disrespect a woman like that. I consider myself a guy who holds doors, not threatens people."

Lewan, widely regarded as one of the top three tackles in the draft, is projected as a first-round pick. He could be available for the Giants (12th overall pick), who absolutely need to upgrade their offensive line. The Giants are a relatively conservative organization, usually staying away from red flags. Obviously, they'd perform due diligence on Lewan.

On the field, there's not much to dislike. Lewan is a polished technician -- he actually returned to school for his senior year -- and he plays with a nasty streak.

"I think my strength as a player is, I like to think I'm very consistent," he said. "I definitely play through the whistle. I also think that's a weakness because everyone likes to comment on that. But I like to play through the whistle and put people in the dirt as much as possible."

Lewan has been known to take it too far. He was involved in a helmet-twisting incident against Michigan State's Isaiah Lewis, and he reportedly was investigated for possible assault after Michigan lost to Ohio State.

“I wasn’t in any fight,” Lewan said. “That’s not who I am off the field.”