When the Dallas Cowboys drafted Jourdan Lewis in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft they were getting one of the most sought after and pro-level ready cornerbacks coming out of college. Ever since he's been on the roster, he's been regarded as the Cowboy's most talented defensive back and the one with the highest ceiling.
He started out on fire as a rookie with 54 tackles, 10 pass breakups, and an interception in 15 games with seven starts. Unfortunately for Lewis, the Cowboys brought in Kris Richard as their defensive backs coach in 2018 whose philosophy geared more towards longer and bigger corners. Lewis appeared in 15 games but only logged a single start and registered a pedestrian 12 tackles and an interception in only 187 defensive snaps.
Last season, he caught a break when Anthony Brown went down for the season with a triceps injury. Lewis balled out with 51 tackles, six pass breakups, four sacks, two interceptions (tied for team lead), and a fumble recovery (returned for a touchdown).
So as you can see, when he's gotten the opportunity he's taken full advantage. Recently, Lewis did an interview with DallasCowboys.com's Nick Eatman, David Helman, and Rob Phillips and talked about the Cowboy's new coaching and how they are a breath of fresh air for him.
“It's definitely a clean slate,” Lewis said. “You know everybody has a clean slate and they're just looking at what we've done in the past. They're looking at the sample size that they do have to go out there and watch us and watch the film and the movements, and they see what they want to implement in their new defense. And they said that everybody has a clean slate. It doesn't matter how big, tall, how long you've been here, it doesn't matter. If you can play ball they want to see you in that position to go and compete for that job. I appreciate them for saying that. It's definitely a different mindset as far as just giving everybody a fair shot. Giving everybody a opportunity to go out there and play, regardless of circumstances that, previously I had to go through.”
If that remains true then Lewis, in my opinion, will be the top guy at nickel/slot corner just ahead of the aforementioned Brown. Of course, Brown won't make it easy on Lewis and he'll be extremely motivated to stay ahead of him on the depth chart after signing a three-year, 15.5 million dollar deal in March.
With his ball-hawking ability and superb technique, Lewis has all the tools to take advantage of this clean slate under a new regime. The only thing left now is to let it all play out on the field whenever the Cowboys get back to work.