FRISCO, Texas – When the Cowboys completed their NFL Draft a month ago, it was obvious what type of player they were looking for, especially on defense.
Whether it was 6-4 cornerback Nahshon Wright and his length, or sixth-round tackle Quinton Bohanna and his 330-pound frame, it’s clear the Cowboys are looking for size and length in helping reshape this defense.
But more than anything, they’re looking for playmakers.
That’s exactly how Jourdan Lewis describes himself and it’s how the Cowboys view the four-year veteran cornerback as well.
Lewis, who is 5-10, 186, knows he’s not the tallest or biggest player, even in the secondary room, that hasn’t stopped him from producing on the field.
Let’s not forget, defensive coordinator Dan Quinn had already been hired in March when the Cowboys decided to re-sign Lewis to a three-year contract.
As Lewis recalled the free-agent process back in March, it sounds like Quinn and head coach Mike McCarthy have a plan for him.
“I hit the market, and after that year I just wasn’t too sure,” Lewis said. “And we didn’t have our DC come back, so it was up in the air. They hit me up and said ‘We’d love to have you back, we’ve got some things for you to do,’ and I was like ‘I’m for it.'”
So what’s the plan exactly?
“Just move me around and make plays, honestly,” Lewis said after an OTA practice. “They saw I had the ability to do so, and they wanted me to come back, and they felt like I had some unfinished business.”
Lewis signed a three-year, $16.5 million contract, a deal that will likely secure a significant role on the defense, most likely as the nickel corner.
“Yeah. I’m going to be in the box,” Lewis said. “I’m going to be able to make plays around the field and move around the field. It’s going to be cool. But at the same time, you’ve still got some unfinished business to do. It’s amazing to have the financial freedom to do what you want, but at the same time you still have to produce on the field.”
Last season, Lewis didn’t record an interception for the first time in his career, but he had his fourth fumble recovery.
Last season, McCarthy talked about Lewis “finding the ball” on numerous occasions and that’s one of the main reasons they decided to bring him back.
But more than just getting turnovers, Lewis knows getting a new contract and being a veteran in the locker room, means he needs to have more of a leadership role.
“Of course, yeah that always comes with it. More responsibility” he said. “They put value into you, and they think you can get the job done and they see you as one of their guys. Of course that comes with opportunities and a longer leash. I feel like that’s what they’ve given me here.”
But Lewis also understands that it’s just an opportunity. Nothing is guaranteed in terms of playing time, especially after they drafted two corners in the first three rounds.
Lewis got to play with Kelvin Joseph and Wright last week and he’s already liking what he sees.
“They have the potential to play. They can go out there and hang with the best of them. They can run and cover,” Lewis said of the younger corners. “They have the measurables to go out there and check anybody. I saw those guys move around, and they move around really well. They can get it done. Just trying to mature those guys as fast as possible so we can have as much help as possible.”
And that’s all Lewis seems to be concerned with – just fixing the problems from 2020 that saw the Cowboys allow more points than any team in franchise history.
“It’s just the standard. Just understanding, trying to get to the ball and making it more simple so we can go out there and make plays. It’s putting your playmakers in positions to do that. So I feel like that’s definitely the emphasis here. It’s a new staff and they want us to go on the field and play to our strengths.”