Taking a look at the moves the Dallas Cowboys have made this offseason, it appears, once again, Jourdan Lewis is on the outside looking in.
Take a look at the Dallas Cowboys’ stable of defensive backs. Look at the size and length on the carryovers and then compare them to the newly added pass defenders. Notice anything different? Yeah, me neither.
That’s because even though the Dallas Cowboys changed their coaching staff and scheme, they still appear to value the same physical qualities they did before: size and length. For someone like Jourdan Lewis, it’s just more of the same here in 2020.
If you remember, Jourdan Lewis’ pro story began when he slipped into the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Dallas had just picked a cornerback one round earlier, and usually avoided sub-6-foot cornerbacks so he wasn’t a natural fit. But they saw the value was too good to pass up, so they deviated from their blueprint and made the pick.
Lewis was a good exception to make. He had some of the best ball skills in his draft class, he had experience playing inside and outside, and he had abnormally long arms which made up for his lack of height (only graded in the 23rd percentile in height but the 60th percentile in length).
Injuries forced him into action in his rookie season and Lewis endeared himself to fans with his aggressive nature both in the running game and in defending the pass. But his playing time was short lived and through the years he was relegated mostly to spot duty.
When given the opportunity Lewis has shined for the most part, but with his reward-rich plays he’s also been prone to give up plays. Last season Lewis gave up 542 yards on just 589 snaps (55% of the defenses plays). He gave up 12.3 yards per completion, 8.5 yards/target and had a completion percentage of 68.8% when targeted.
Many Dallas Cowboys fans hoped this year would be Lewis’ season to prove he should have been a starter all along. But after seeing the Cowboys’ additions in free agency and draft, it looks like Lewis is going to be the odd man out once again.
The average length of the Dallas Cowboys roster was already well over 6-foot. Only Anthony Brown and Lewis were under that “Mendoza line” of sorts. This offseason Dallas added Maurice Canady (6-foot-1), Saivion Smith (6-foot-1), Daryl Worley (6-foot-1), Reggie Robinson (6-foot-1) and Trevon Diggs (6-foot-2).
Based on Mike Nolan’s history and the Dallas Cowboys’ offseason personnel decisions, it’s clear the team intends on employing ample amounts of man coverage going forward. They also seem to be committed to a certain type of player that doesn’t fit the mold of Jourdan Lewis.
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The best opportunity Lewis has on this defense appears to be inside in the slot. But after Dallas committed 3-years and $15.5M to nickel corner Anthony Brown, seizing the CB4 spot in the dime defense may be Lewis’ best case scenario. The last thing working against Jourdan Lewis in 2020 is Chidobe Awuzie’s new position. Chido is expected to move to a box safety role which means he’ll be matching up in the slot plenty next season.
As we’ve discussed before, box safety and slot cornerback have a lot of overlap and Chido’s an excellent inside cover man. This basically means it’s going to be tough for Lewis to see the field again in 2020 since two players will be slated ahead of him inside.
At the end of the day, don’t be surprised if Jourdan Lewis is playing with someone else in 2020 (either by trade or by roster cuts). It’s not that he doesn’t deserve a roster spot, it’s that he’s a poor fit for what the Dallas Cowboys appear to be trying to do.
- Published on 05/12/2020 at 11:01 AM
- Last updated at 05/12/2020 at 08:48 AM