Much has been made over the last year about the Cowboys revamped secondary. As you probably know by now, Dallas let multiple veteran contributors walk in free agency prior to the 2017 season in favor of youthful cornerbacks and safeties.
The results through one season have been mixed, though there is a lot of reason for excitement about this rebuilt unit.
One of the major reasons fans felt excited after the 2017 season was due to third round cornerback Jourdan Lewis. The former Michigan corner was arguably the most consistent of the three rookie defensive backs who saw significant action, functioning primarily as an outside cornerback.
Lewis had his growing pains as all rookies do, but he and Chidobe Awuzie brought an attitude to the Cowboys’ back-end which they haven’t had in a very long time.
Things have changed a bit in the past few months, however. The hiring of former Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Kris Richard as well as the full time position switch for now cornerback Byron Jones points towards a different direction in the Cowboys secondary. One which emphasizes height, length, and physicality in their cornerbacks.
At just 5’10” 195 pounds, it’s easy to see why some are worried that Jourdan Lewis will get lost in the shuffle a bit this season. Awuzie and Jones are now the assumed starting outside cornerbacks, and at 6’0″ you can see how each fits the “Legion of Boom” prototype.
Conventional wisdom would say that Jourdan Lewis should be a slot cornerback in the NFL. But his coverage abilities and film thus far suggest that Lewis is better suited to play on the outside than he is in the slot.
In fact, it may be the taller Byron Jones which fits better in the slot than Lewis. According to Pro Football Focus, Byron Jones was a top eight slot cornerback in the entire NFL a season ago.
Byron Jones is one the top eight slot cornerbacks heading into the 2018 season! #CowboysNation https://t.co/w9skqeqsFN
How much does this really matter?
Well, according to DallasCowboys.com’s Bryan Broaddus it probably won’t matter at all. Broaddus wrote that Lewis “will be apart of this rotation one way or another,” and added that he’s off to a great start with OTAs.
Basically, while Kris Richard may have his “type” of cornerback, Jourdan Lewis is simply too good and too competitive to allow himself to fall out of this lineup. Though he excelled as an outside cornerback at Michigan and during much of his rookie season, Lewis may find his home in the slot here with the Cowboys going forward.
Regardless a cornerback trio of Chidobe Awuzie, Byron Jones, and Jourdan Lewis is one that can become dangerous for opposing offenses. And having too many good cover corners is a great problem for a team to have.
Jourdan Lewis had an impressive rookie season in 2017, and there’s no reason to think he can’t build on that heading into his sophomore campaign.