Dallas Cowboys: Jourdan Lewis shouldn’t be relegated to a nickel-only CB

PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 22: Jourdan Lewis #27 of the Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 22: Jourdan Lewis #27 of the Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images) /

The Dallas Cowboys don’t necessarily consider Jourdan Lewis just a nickel-only cornerback and you shouldn’t either…

It’s important not to let the verdicts of the old Dallas Cowboys coaching regime go unchecked under the new regime. Just because Rod Marinelli and Kris Richard hate blitzing, doesn’t mean it’s flawed strategy and off the table now that Mike Nolan’s in charge. Just because Jason Garrett didn’t like the risk involved using Dak Prescott as a runner, doesn’t mean Mike McCarthy feels the same.

And just because the old defensive coaching staff pegged Jourdan Lewis as just a slot corner, doesn’t mean he’s not an option on the outside next season.  Individual coaching philosophies are not to be considered universal truths. And the verdicts from before stand to be overturned.

Jourdan Lewis wasn’t always considered an inside-only cornerback. Before the Dallas Cowboys drafted him in 2016, Lewis was also regarded as an outside cornerback. Playing both inside and outside for Michigan, Lewis was a tremendous coverman, who only fell in the draft because of some off-the-field concerns.

Pro Football Focus pointed out while playing both RCB and inside slot CB, the highest passer rating Lewis ever gave up was 47.1. I don’t have to tell you that’s a tremendous figure. After getting drafted, injuries to others forced Lewis into the Dallas Cowboys lineup early. Playing boundary CB, Lewis shinned as both a coverage man and as a run-stopper.

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But as Chidobe Awuzie‘s health improved and Byron Jones started to dominate, Lewis was unceremoniously moved inside. His sub-6-foot height (5-foot-10) pegged him inside given Kris Richard’s affinity for tall boundary cornerbacks. But given Lewis’ track record outside, natural ball skill ability, low missed tackle percentage, arm length, and overall tenacity, it’s probably a mistake ruling him out on the boundary.

With the Dallas Cowboys expected to play less Cover 3 single high in 2020, height is no longer a detrimental trait for Lewis (it really never should have been, but I digress…). Lewis should be a viable option to replace the nearly-departed Byron Jones, and while slot may ultimately be in Lewis’ future again, it shouldn’t be considered a given.

It’s not like Jourdan Lewis is an all-star nickel corner either. He graded below Byron and Chido in most major advanced statistical categories and as such, wouldn’t leave an irreplaceable void inside.

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Do the Dallas Cowboys need to add cornerback talent to the roster in 2020? For sure – preferably in one of the first two rounds. But they also have a couple viable options on the roster they need to consider as replacements to Jones outside – namely Jourdan Lewis

  • Published on 03/14/2020 at 12:49 PM
  • Last updated at 03/14/2020 at 12:49 PM