In order to hopefully improve the production in the secondary, the Dallas Cowboys decided to pretty much completely overhaul the entire backend of their defense. With all of the new faces expected to play key roles in the secondary, no one really knew how things would turn out. It is still somewhat of a mystery considering the mixed bag of results through the first three weeks of the season, but there are signs things are indeed improving.
Of course, not everything has been rainbows and sunshine for the Dallas Cowboys secondary. Injuries have hit them pretty hard through the first three weeks, but that has also created opportunities for some of their younger players, such as rookie cornerback Jourdan Lewis.
The former Michigan standout cornerback, Jourdan Lewis, was the Dallas Cowboys third round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. Despite arguably having first-round talent, he slid right into the Cowboys lap in the third round for two reasons.
First, he had a domestic violence charge filed against him and that didn’t even go to court until after the draft and before preseason. Teams were probably wary of drafting him because of the unknown of the DV charge, but fortunately he was acquitted. Secondly, due to his size he was believed to be regulated only to the slot in the NFL and slot CBs typically don’t get drafted very highly.
Due to Lewis’ previous mentioned court date for domestic violence, he had to show up after the Dallas Cowboys training camp was already underway. This already put him behind the eight ball, but things got even worse when he sustained a hamstring injury that kept him out all of training camp and preseason. This also carried over into the season and forced him to miss the Week 1 match up with the New York Giants.
Jourdan Lewis was finally active for the first time in his NFL career in Week 2 against the Denver Broncos and unfortunately it was kind of baptism by fire for the rookie. The Cowboys were forced to play Lewis due to injuries, but despite missing so much time during the off-season, he performed above expectations. Lewis finished the game with six tackles and his first career interception in the NFL.
Lewis was once again thrust into action due to injuries the following week against the Arizona Cardinals and once again held his own. QB Carson Palmer targeted Lewis nine times, but was only able to complete five of those passes for 33 yards. Lewis finished the game with six tackles, one tackle for loss, and a pass defensed.
Now, I don’t know how much credibility Pro Football Focus has with their grading, but they awarded Lewis an 87.6 grade against the Cardinals. They also have him graded out as the 11th best CB in the NFL, with a score of 83.8. That puts him in some pretty good company among cornerbacks around the NFL.
With two pretty good games under his belt, it’s hard to argue that Jourdan Lewis’ playing time won’t increase. He’s played so well in fact that he could be looking at earning a starting role.
Now, I know this may be jumping the gun a little because it is really early in the season still. But, injuries have already given him a leg up on the competition. Nolan Carroll had to miss last week because of a concussion and unfortunately didn’t play very well prior to that injury. Injuries have also been a problem for Chidobe Awuzie and Orlando Scandrick this season.
The fact Lewis has stepped up when needed and proved to be capable of handling a starting role probably hasn’t gone unnoticed by the coaching staff. I personally believe Lewis can start in the slot or on the outside, much like the Cowboys second year CB Anthony Brown. Both Brown and Lewis are roughly the same size, and both already have one INT under their belt this season.
Jourdan Lewis still has a ways to go in order to lock down a starting role, but it’s comforting to know that he is more than capable of doing so if needed.