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A three-year starter, Lewis played mostly press-man at Michigan, lining up at both right and left cornerback and also inside on the slot receiver. He was recognized as the best defensive back in the Big Ten the past two seasons and leaves Ann Arbor with the Wolverines single-season (22, 2015) and career (45) passes defended records. Lewis grew up a die-hard fan of the Wolverines, which is probably the reason he received only two offers during the recruitment process, committing to Michigan over Toledo. After spending his true freshman season as a back-up off the bench, Lewis became a starter as a sophomore and recorded 39 tackles, eight passes defended and two interceptions. He emerged as one of college football's best cover players as a junior with 22 passes defended, which was a single-season Michigan record and ranked fourth-best in the FBS. Lewis also added 52 tackles, two interceptions and one forced fumble to earn Big Ten Tatum-Woodson Defensive Back of the Year and First Team All-American and All-Big Ten honors. He returned for his senior season and started 10 games (missed three due to injury), finishing with 25 tackles, 13 passes defended and two interceptions to earn the Big Ten Tatum-Woodson Defensive Back of the Year and First Team All-Big Ten honors for the second straight season.
Pro teams are heavily vetting the domestic assault charges against Lewis that will land him in a court for a trial in July. He pleaded not guilty to one misdemeanor count.
Lewis trusts his technique and instincts and his best trait in his vision to simultaneously track the ball and his man, allowing him to attack and make plays. He loves to play tight and won't allow much spacing in man coverage, but this also leads to attention from officials for his hands-on, disruptive approach downfield. Despite his aggressive style, the elephant in the room for Lewis is his lack of size, something that obviously shows against bigger, more physical receivers and as a run defender. His undersized frame might push him into the second round, but his natural feel in coverage, athleticism and confidence are first round worthy, projecting as an impact nickel corner.
STRENGTHS: Quick feet in his movements with the hip fluidity to flip and attach himself to receivers vertically. Lower body suddenness to burst out of his stance and stay on top of routes. Excellent closing speed in run support and when the ball is in the air. Highly aggressive at the catch point with the quick reflexes and eyes to find the football and attack it. Plays the ball well with steady focus to finish interceptions. Credits his ball production to game-planning and route recognition, understanding play indicators. Small body frame, but impressive 31-inch arm length. Shows similar recognition in the run game, breaking on the ballcarrier to make stops near the line of scrimmage. Better tackler than expected for his size, staying low and driving through his target. Experienced at outside and inside cornerback, lining up all over the defensive formation.
WEAKNESSES: Undersized with below average height and growth potential for the position…too easily engulfed by receivers or tight ends and eliminated by blockers on perimeter runs…physical in run support, but smaller tackling radius due to his marginal size…gets in trouble with his hands on approach and downfield, drawing flags due to excessive grabbing in his attempt to gain leverage and disrupt the rhythm of receivers…durability is a question mark due to lack of size and body armor -- missed first three games of 2016 due to injury.
NFL COMPARISON: Cortland Finnegan -- Body type isn't what stands out about either prospect, but Lewis shows similar athleticism and competitiveness as Finnegan to overcome his size deficiencies and be an impactful NFL player.
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