Lewis has a thick, athletic-looking frame, demonstrating that he has the acceleration to defeat the press and the agility to separate from defenders after the catch, but with his desire to not seek contact, he will often run out of bounds rather than challenge the secondary after the catch. He’s a bit raw as a route runner and needs to be more alert and recognize when he has the space needed to extend plays after the catch, both in space and on contact.
Lewis has large, soft hands and demonstrates good coordination when plucking the ball off his frame, but he has to time his leaps better, as he is not one that will get physical with opponents in jump-ball situations. He has the agility to position his body when adjusting to balls thrown off stride, but has to develop better courage to power through tackles.
One look at Lewis’ frame and he looks physical and has those big mitts coaches like for attempting to defeat press coverage. Yet, he would much rather out-juke or sidestep his opponent rather than run through the pile. He is also a liability blocking in the running game, as he has a lot of room for improvement of his technique there.
Lewis has been susceptible to occasional lapses in concentration – mostly when he hears steps closing on him - leading to a handful of drops from easy throws. Even though he exhibits a good burst and the hip-sink to separate out of his cuts, he needs to do a better job in demonstrating that he can generate the second gear needed when he has to pull away vertically, struggling to consistently threaten the top of the defense.
As a route runner, Lewis simply lacks precision and when he can’t get space, he will round off his cuts. He also does not show great reactionary skills when the pocket is pressured and has to do a better at working his way back to the ball on hitches and comeback routes.
Teams that feature the West Coast scheme will show more attention to Lewis, as he seems to have better success on shorter routes (quick slants, quick outs, screens). He has to improve his ability to get in and out of breaks, which is puzzling for that lack of success, considering he has above-average quickness for his size. He has that big catching radius and strong hands, but lacks consistent natural hand-eye coordination.
At his size, you have to be concerned about his inability in taking the ball away from defenders on contested plays. He also has to improve his ability to transition up field after the catch. He looks natural adjusting to the ball over his shoulder and has good straight-line speed, but I am just not convinced he will ever become courageous enough to navigate through traffic or sacrifice himself by falling forward for extra yards at the end of his runs.
Lewis has to learn how to exploit a crease, as he will never be elusive enough to string together double moves to make multiple defenders miss. He does add value as a third-day pick with his special team success in limited appearances (two fumble recoveries, two blocked kicks, one returned for a touchdown).
Dezmin Lewis Scouting Combine measurables
6-4/214 (4.58 forty)
32 1/2-inch arm length
9 7/8-inch hands
33 ½-inch vertical jump
9-foot-11 broad jump
7.11 3-cone drill
4.28 20-yard shuttle<
11.63 60-yard shuttle
Dave-Te’ Thomas is a sports writer, talent evaluator and scouting personnel consultant for a majority of teams in the National Football League. Thomas runs a scouting information service called NFL Scouting Services and produces THE NFL Draft Report, a publication provided by league headquarters to the media in preparation for the NFL Draft.
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