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What role will Cowboys’ CB Jourdan Lewis play in 2018?

After a fantastic ending to his rookie year in Dallas, what role will second-year cornerback Jourdan Lewis have in Kris Richard’s secondary?

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Denver Broncos Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

It was a bit surprising when the Dallas Cowboys selected Jourdan Lewis with 92nd overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. The Cowboys had just drafted Chidobe Awuzie a round earlier to pair with Anthony Brown, Nolan Carroll, Orlando Scandrick, Leon McFadden, and Duke Thomas when Lewis’ name was called as day three was winding down.

At the time, Jourdan Lewis had an ongoing domestic violence investigation tagged to his name, which made him fall to the third round in the draft. The Cowboys’ front office had done their due diligence on the situation and felt as if they had a good grasp on what would come in the investigation. Fast forward a year, and Jourdan Lewis is ready to head into his second training camp with the Dallas Cowboys.

After spending most of his offseason on the sideline nursing an injured hamstring, Jourdan Lewis was thrown into the fire in week two of the regular season. Lost in the 42-17 beat down by the Bronco’s, Lewis actually had a solid debut recording an interception and six tackles. Lewis kept up the good work and was rewarded a starting job due to injuries and the benching of second-year cornerback Anthony Brown. Lewis didn’t look back and was one of the most consistent players on the Cowboys defense in 2017.

Since then, a lot has changed. The Cowboys released veteran Orlando Scandrick, and added former Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Kris Richard to take over as the teams secondary coach/passing game coordinator. Richard is known for liking bigger cornerbacks, so it is still up in the air what role Jourdan Lewis will play for the 2018 Dallas Cowboys.

For starters, Lewis has not been getting the first-team reps in the early portion of OTA’s. Through two weeks of OTA’s, Richard has Byron Jones and Chidobe Awuzie as the starting outside corners, with Anthony Brown manning the slot duties.

Some fans questioned if Kris Richard would be looking to trade Jourdan Lewis seeing as he doesn’t fit his prototypical size thresholds. But in an interview with last week, Richard called second-year corner Jourdan Lewis an “exception to the rule”.

After ending his rookie season with four straight starts, Jourdan Lewis is likely a bit frustrated that he’s not getting the starting reps early in training camp, but knowing the passion and competitive nature that Lewis plays with, he will be practicing and playing with a huge chip on his shoulder.

On tape, Jourdan Lewis is an excellent cover corner that can also step up and make plays against the run. Another thing that consistently shows up is the confidence the former Michigan corner plays with. Even when he does get beat, Lewis lines right back up and comes right back at the receiver. Though he is on the shorter side at 5-foot-10, Lewis can be just as effective as a boundary corner as a nickel corner. Matter of fact, that’s actually where he showed up on tape the most in 2017.

Here you’ll see him play with excellent discipline, as well as showing off impressive ball skills on a double move. Jourdan Lewis played this one perfectly.

Again, here is Jourdan Lewis lined up as a boundary cornerback playing man coverage on Evan Engram. A lot of people worry about Lewis getting bullied on the outside due to his size, but as you can see here he stays in tight coverage on Engram the entire play, who has a five-inch height advantage.

Lewis brings youth, versatility, tenacity, and confidence to the cornerback position that this team has lacked for some time. Even though Lewis isn’t getting the starting reps he probably deserves, expect for that to change by the time the team heads to Charlotte to take on the Carolina Panthers in week one. With the secondary filled with plenty of young talent, Jourdan Lewis is the perfect combination of skill and swagger to the position. However Kris Richard decides to use Jourdan Lewis in 2018, the feeling seems to be rather optimistic about the future of the Cowboys secondary.

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