Lightly used cornerback, Jourdan Lewis, has been playing lights out as of late, exciting the Dallas Cowboys coaches, and laying the foundation for his future in Dallas
Most will agree the Dallas Cowboys are fairly loaded at the cornerback position. With Pro Bowler Byron Jones entrenched as CB1, the budding star Chidobe Awuzie locked in opposite, and former sixth round steal Anthony Brown manning the slot, there’s not much room left for an aspiring talent like Jourdan Lewis.
But given Lewis’ level of play, and the undetermined future of many in his position group, his future with the team is brighter than many people seem to think. Given his recent high level of play in Cowboys Camp, the Dallas Cowboys will be hard-pressed to delay his opportunities much longer.
Jourdan Lewis has had an up and down career since joining the Dallas Cowboys as a third round pick in 2017. The former Michigan defensive back began his Cowboys career injured. After missing most of his rookie training camp, Lewis was forced into action early, thriving as a starting outside CB and eventually becoming and early candidate for NFL Rookie of the Year.
But as the veterans returned, Lewis was pushed back to spot duty; filling in here and there and serving as a situational chess piece for Rod Marinelli’s defense. Last season Kris Richard made his impression felt as the secondary coach, opting for more traditionally built, long and lean, CBs and shying away from the diminutive dynamo, Jourdan Lewis.
But you can’t keep a good man down and even in spot duty, Lewis stood out. Highlighted by the nine plays against the New Orleans Saints, Lewis was arguably the most impactful defensive player on the field – Shutting down Alvin Kamara and collecting the game clinching INT to put a bow on it all.
Lewis ended the 2018 as Pro Football Focus’ second rated Dallas Cowboys CB – just a hair below Pro Bowler Byron Jones.
As we roll into 2019, nothing much has changed, personnel wise. Jones and Chido are still the starters outside and Anthony Brown is still expected to man the slot. While Jones has yet to hit the field, he’s expected to be every bit as good as last season. Chido is expected to take a huge step forward this season, and Brown is looking to build on his solid 2018 and turn it into a shiny new contract.
With all of that at the top of the depth chart, it’s once again going to be hard for Lewis to crack the lineup – Especially given Richard’s preference for length at CB. But even Richard isn’t married to the idea that you must be long to thrive in his scheme:
"“He’s really not limited, by any means,” Richard said. “I’ve really said it throughout my history here. You take a player like Jourdan Lewis, and he’s the exception. I’ll consistently say it because he is.”"
Added Jason Garrett,
"“We have a profile for every position physically on our team,” Garrett said. “We’ve always had that. There’s heights and weights and arm lengths and hand size that we have for every spot on our team. But you also want to recognize good football players. When we drafted Jourdan we knew he was right on that Mendoza line of being 5’10” and change, but we also knew he was a really good football player.”"
Lewis is far and away the best ball hawk on the Dallas Cowboys. For as good as Byron Jones is, he only has two career interceptions. A number that seems to defy odds. Chido is a player known to have decent ball skills, but he struggles when asked to look back for the ball in trail coverage.
Lewis, on the other hand, is always hawking the ball. His draft tape proves it, as well as his limited game NFL game tape. And right now, he’s tearing up Cowboys Camp making interception after interception. And it’s not just ball hawking that Lewis is thriving with, but his tenacity and tackling ability as well.
While some fans are calling for the Dallas Cowboys to trade Jourdan Lewis since he’s essentially being wasted on the bench, there is arguably more value in hanging on and playing this “the Patriot Way”.
The Pats are well known for maximizing compensatory picks year after year. By having a net loss in free agency (provided it’s a valuable loss), they can reload with bonus draft picks, awarded by the NFL. The Dallas Cowboys have been on this bandwagon as well, and may be looking to gain compensatory picks as they navigate the upcoming contracts of their CB corps.
Byron Jones and Anthony Brown are both set to be free agents in 2020. And it wouldn’t be surprising if one or even both were allowed to go elsewhere. Given the role they play on the Cowboys and the expected role they’d serve on their new team, either player would justify a maximum compensatory pick in return.
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In 2020 a top-3 CB job will likely be Jourdan Lewis’ to lose if you consider these contract situations. Not only would Dallas get comp picks to cover their losses, but they’d hand the job to proven commodity like Lewis in a contract year. He could either carve out a long-term future on the Cowboys, or be converted into a future comp pick as well.
Trading him now would be to ignore his value as depth and as a situational chess piece. It would give up on his expected huge 2020 contributions. And it would ignore the eventual comp pick down the road. All for a Day 3 pick in 2020? No thanks.
Admittedly, Jourdan Lewis is a personal favorite of mine from the day he was drafted. I’d have him starting…yesterday. His ferociousness and ball skills are unparalleled on this team and at the very least, I’d have no problem going to 4CB 1S system to get my best players on the field.
How big of a role will Jourdan Lewis have on the Dallas Cowboys in 2019? We’ll have to see but even as the CB4, he’s extremely valuable to this franchise in the present and the future. The future is bright for Jourdan Lewis.
- Published on 08/16/2019 at 11:30 AM
- Last updated at 08/16/2019 at 06:54 AM