Has a good first step and straight-line burst off the edge to make plays in the backfield. Shows a decent rip move and some bend to turn the corner off the edge. Able to make plays on the backside pursuit. Has good closing burst on the ballcarrier, especially when working in short-area on the edge. Breaks down and delivers pop as a tackler at the point of attack. Comfortable moving in space. Able to get leverage against the tight end and shed the block to make the stop at the point of attack. Uses his first step well to get that initial inside leverage. Valuable on special teams.
Lacks ideal size and tends to get engulfed at the point of attack. Has difficulty getting off blocks and disengage against bigger blockers. Lacks any real moves, tending to rely on his speed and motor to be an effective pass rusher. Needs to improve his hand use as a bull rusher off the edge. Can get caught out of position and show poor recognition against the option read.
Lewis is an undersized edge rusher that is a physical and a pure football player. He first emerged at Oklahoma as a standout special teams player, having 11 stops there as a freshman. He steadily developed into a solid edge rusher that manages to play more physical than his size merits. He's not a dynamic pass rusher but can contribute there because of his burst. He's had issues with durability over his career at Oklahoma as well. He played as a hybrid outside linebacker/end in OU's scheme, but projects as an outside linebacker in the pros.
2011 GAMES WATCHED:
(10/8) vs. Texas: 1 sack, 2 TFLs, 1 stuff, 2.5 pressures, 1 FF
(10/29) at Kansas St: 1 sack, 1 TFL, 0.5 stuffs, 1 FR
2011: 10 GP/9 GS, 59 tackles, 13.0 TFLs, 5.5 sacks, 1 INT, 5 PD, 1 FF, 1 FR
- missed 2 games in 2011 with sprained MCL; ruled academically ineligible for bowl game
- missed 3 games in 2010 due to a knee injury, and then injured neck in bowl game
Lewis has upside that is worth developing. But one thing you know about him is that you can be very confident he can come in right away and be a big contributor on special teams. He's a fierce hitter and plays fast and physical. He flies around the field. His issues are that he lacks ideal size, although he's strong for his size (36 bench reps at Combine) and while he played at around 240 pounds, he didn't get physically dominated as much as many other players of that size do. Adding the extra bulk this offseason should help him. As a pass rusher, his first step allows him to offer potential. But he's a fairly one-dimensional guy, but I think he can potentially develop as a nice complementary guy there. He'll be more likely to give you 4-6 sacks there than much more than that. But I think in a 3-4 scheme where teams want him to get upfield, he can be an impact run defender, capable pass defender. His coverage skills remain to be seen, but he probably could become passable there. I think he could play in a 4-3 scheme as well, although the question marks in coverage could make it harder for him in terms of his long-term upside. He'll work there as a SAM linebacker that can play up on the line of scrimmage. Lewis will at the very least develop into a solid backup that brings value on special teams. At best, he can be a solid complementary starter in that scheme like a Rob Ninkovich.
Lewis could add depth at linebacker for the Falcons in their 4-3, and then be developed as a nice complementary starter in their 3-4 down the road. He can add depth right away and help out on special teams as he develops more ability to play in space and be a stand-up linebacker. He'd be a nice developmental guy that can potentially push for a starting job in his second or third year as the team transitions to a base 3-4. He won't be an impact player, but a solid complementary guy that can bring similar value to Stephen Nicholas, except be a more physical run defender and pass rusher. If not, then you're still getting a quality reserve.
Lewis is a solid third round pick. As a more polished pass rusher or with less durability concerns, he could be potentially worth a second round look.
1-pathetic, 2-poor, 3-weak, 4-below average, 5-average, 6-above average, 7-good, 8-very good, 9-excellent, 10-elite
Point of Attack: 5.0
Pass Rush: 6.5
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.