Often overshadowed this past season on the Michigan defense with the presence of Jabrill Peppers stealing the show, you could make the case for Jourdan Lewis as the most reliable and valuable piece on the Wolverines’ defense. A three-year starter, Lewis stayed all four years in Ann Arbor and finished his career with 1st Team All-Big Ten honors, as well as the leading pass breakups leader in school history (45) – nearly half came during his junior year which also broke a single-season school record (22).
@JonValencia_WiB He has a legitimate shot to be one of the best nickels in NFL history.
— Conor (@MylesSheet) March 16, 2017
While he flew under the radar during his collegiate career, he continued to do so during the draft process. In a loaded cornerback class, Lewis was overshadowed by top tier guys such as Marshon Lattimore, Sidney Jones and Gareon Conley, among others. Some point to his size as a major weakness. An anonymous Scouting director stated, “If he were bigger he would go in the first round.” After building himself some draft stock at the Combine, that perhaps went for broke. Just a month and a half prior to the NFL Draft, Lewis was charged with one count of misdemeanor domestic violence. Teams will make it a priority to get to the bottom of the incident during the pre-draft interview process. It looks like this negative action will cost Lewis some ground in draft position, but how much?
Name: Jourdan Lewis
Size: 5’10″/188/31 5/8” Arm Length
Comparison: Brandon Boykin (Chicago Bears)
Draft Grade: 2nd Round
Combine Results: 40 Yard Dash: 4.54 – Bench Press: 15 Reps – Vertical Jump: 34” – Broad Jump: 121”
— Jonathan Valencia (@JonValencia_WiB) March 16, 2017
Positives: If you need a slot corner, Jourdan Lewis is your man. Competitive and plays with a chip on his shoulder. Physical, tough, scrappy corner with feisty, advanced hand technique at the point of attack. Hard stick on arm extension. Uses arm length to stick with receivers in desperation. Sticks with man well out of release – clicks to them like a magnet. Excels at playing from behind and has the skills to trail receivers effectively. Sticks to opponent’s on inside routes. Limits separation in the short game. Quick recovery speed. Uses his quickness, length and jolt to jump into the pass. Lightning quick movement skills. Lateral footwork skills allow him to slide with receivers. Smooth, effortless hip transition. Sets up for deep ball and can swiftly transition to the inside to match the route. Stays patient against double-moves. Tremendous ball skills as he displayed in his highlight interception against Wisconsin. Displays good timing on pass breakups – sticks out his arm to defend the ball. Surprising ability to go vertical and attack the ball based on height. Fierce blitzer who closes in quickly. Solid in run support. Sudden transition out of coverage into run defense. Diagnoses runs fairly quick and sets up and sticks. Usually makes 1-on-1 tackles in space – or at least does enough to impede progress. Excellent field vision in pursuit – weaves through traffic well. Offer skills as a kick returner. Explosive burst on cuts to the outside. Makes big plays when his team needs it. Played receiver in high school so he has a better understanding of the position he defends. Age friendly prospect – turns 22 years old in August.
Negatives: Displays confusion in zone coverage. Struggles against split wide receivers and shows a lack of instinct at who to anchor. Tends to lock eyes on QB in man against the deep ball allowing his man to gain mass separation, or will keep his back to the ball completely and fails to react accordingly. Allows too much cushion on comeback routes. Late head turn on fades in the endzone. Usually gets the job done as a tackler, but technique overall is sloppy. Will get bullied by straight-line ball carriers with a full head of steam. Lacks ideal to strength to shed blocks. Will get tossed back by bigger receiver and tight ends on blocks. Lacks long speed. Considered to be slightly undersized with a thin frame. Charged with one count of misdemeanor domestic violence a month and a half before the draft. I question his humility. Made a long interception against Wisconsin despite it being 4th down – a simple pass breakup would’ve forced much better field position. Rarely will call for a fair catch as a returner no matter the proximity of defenders. Missed 3 games this past season due to back and leg injuries.
Outlook: There aren’t enough words to describe Jourdan Lewis; scrappy, feisty, competitive, physical, tough, and the list goes on. I absolutely love the way he plays the game. Lewis is a perfect fit in the slot in a man-heavy defensive scheme. He sticks to his man like glue and doesn’t take crap from anyone. He can feed in sub-packages as he is a solid run defender as well. Lewis grades out with a 2nd round grade from me, and I would even feel comfortable taking him late in the 1st round as he’s a plug-and-play in the slot. He does all the little things necessary to succeed at the next level in his particular role, and has a great chance to emerge as a premier slot corner in the league. However, with the recent legal issue surfacing, he could slip all the way to the 3rd round – which would prove to be tremendous value, assuming there are no other occurrences with the law.