Most of the hype regarding the Michigan Wolverine defense has been around Jabrill Peppers. However, what about Jourdan Lewis? Could their most consistent defensive player be someone named Lewis and not Peppers?
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t want to make this all about Jabrill Peppers because I know he’s great and will be a sure first rounder in the 2017 NFL Draft. However, Peppers gets a lot of hype and other guys like Channing Stribling and Jourdan Lewis suffer from it. Nobody will deny any of these players talents but at times, Jourdan Lewis gets overlooked.
Most of this could be of how Jourdan Lewis started his senior season. He missed the first 3 games on the schedule because of lingering issues. Those injuries were listed from his back to his legs so with proper precaution, he missed some time. Lewis seems to be recovering fine though. He’s played in nine straight games and his opponents know how talented he is. This season alone, he’s only allowed 10 receptions on 34 passing targets. As a finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award, it’s clear he’s one of the nations best defensive backs.
Last year, Lewis set a school record with 22 pass deflections. If you ever get a chance, go back and watch that tape. It’s unbelievable. Certainly he doesn’t seem as good with only 9 games played this year but he did finish the season with a total of 25 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 2 interceptions and 8 pass deflections.
During the last few days, I’ve sat and taken a lot of notes on Lewis. I’ve watched his games from last year to what he did this year. Games against Penn State, Michigan State and Wisconsin really stand out. Of course, nobody can forget the one handed interception he had against Wisconsin this season, but what about his game against Penn State? He only finished with two tackles but allowed just one reception the entire game. The list could go on and on about what I don’t like or do like, however, here’s what I see from Jourdan Lewis in a nutshell:
- Strengths: Press corner who does a good job getting into the hip pocket of a receiver. Does a fine job of tackling in the open field on any player with the ball. Despite getting beat in coverage, he recovers well. You’ll never see him give up on a play, whether it be run or pass.
- Weaknesses: Often will trail the player in motion. Better quarterbacks can and will attack that. Gets too grabby down the field. Has gotten caught in play action pass situations. Seems to have the tendency to cheat up field during running plays. He will struggle with faster receivers, especially those that play in the slot. Despite his lack of height at 5’10, I wouldn’t suggest him as a nickelback.
- Overall: This is an athletic cornerback with quick feet, who likes to play physical. He needs to become faster in his back pedal but recovers well to the football, when in the air. One of the better open field tacklers at the position…Constantly in the hip pocket of the receiver…He will develop nicely for any team, if he can stay healthy…Could see him becoming a late first round pick, but he’s my 5th ranked cornerback and ranked 35th overall.