Every fanbase has their guy.
Everyone knows the stars – the Dak Prescott’s, Ezekiel Elliott’s, and Amari Cooper’s – but those unheralded players who the fanbase believes in (even if the level of belief is irrational) are the ones who take control of their hearts and minds each season.
And no one on the Cowboys is more believed in by the fanbase than cornerback Jourdan Lewis.
The former third round pick may already be the best player from the Cowboys 2017 draft class, with college teammate Taco Charlton now in Miami and position-mate Chidobe Awuzie taking a step back in 2019. But even after taking a step forward last season with increased playing time, there certainly feels like there’s more out there for Lewis going forward.
Bleacher Report’s Kristopher Knox named a potential 2020 breakout candidate for each NFL team this week, with Jourdan Lewis earning those honors for the Cowboys.
And considering both his own talents and the state of the cornerback position in Dallas, Lewis seems like a safe bet for this milestone.
The Cowboys number one corner the past two seasons has been Byron Jones. Earning second team All Pro honors in 2018 and his first Pro Bowl appearance as well, Jones emerged as one of the league’s best after moving from safety to cornerback full time. According to Football Outsiders, Jones played 94.6% of the team’s defensive snaps in 2019 and has clearly been avoided by opposing offenses week in and week out.
Jones is now entering free agency, and will likely command a high price to be retained. No, he’s not prime Richard Sherman, but he’s a darn-good player who will be highly coveted on the free agent market this Spring. Fellow cornerback Anthony Brown is also entering free agency, though he is coming off a season ending injury which may bring his price tag down.
Dallas has a ton of contracts to deal with this offseason, and it seems likely Jones will be the odd man out. While I’d personally advise against moving on, the reality of the financials may force Jones to find work elsewhere.
If this is the case, there won’t be much holding back Jourdan Lewis from the number one role. Despite being relegated to a slot corner role under Kris Richard, Lewis was primarily an outside corner at Michigan and during his rookie year.
And he was good on the perimeter.
Lewis should’ve been the CB2 opposite Byron Jones a year ago, but it seems that height/length thresholds restricted his ceiling under Richard’s system.
Now the Cowboys defensive depth chart seems wide open, Kris Richard has been replaced, and the playmaking Lewis should have every opportunity to earn playing time in 2020.