2017 NFL Draft Player Profiles: Michigan CB Jourdan Lewis

during the Capitol One Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium on December 30, 2016 in Miami Gardens, Florida.

We’re back again breaking down prospects for the 2017 NFL Draft, set to kick off on April 27th through the 29th. Our goal this season is to write reports on at least 150 players and hopefully, as many as 200. It will, of course, have a focus on Pittsburgh Steelers’ wants and needs but we will look big-picture too at the best players in this year’s draft.

If there’s a player you would like us to breakdown, let us know in the comments below.

#26 Jourdan Lewis/CB Michigan: 5’10 188

The Good

– Plays bigger than his size, impressive vertical and ability to high point the football
– Unique ability to track the football while staying in-phase with receiver, does well in man coverage downfield and plays trail technique effectively
– Fluid player, quick feet and COD, able to mirror release of WR
– Physical, supports the run as force defender, and plays with a competitive edge
– Has ball skills and hands, ability to play pocket and breakup passes and hands to finish plays and pick off passes
– Versatile, wore a lot of hats, able to play inside and out and offer return value

The Bad

– Size is below average though has decent length for height (31 inch arms)
– Struggles in press coverage, will lack power to stuff big receivers on the outside, and technique needs work
– Vulnerable to opening his hips in press, failing to stay square, and creating release lane
– Doesn’t always maintain leverage, allows release to leverage side (inside release vs inside leverage)
– Bit of a gambler who can get burned, needs to open gate sooner in off coverage
– Has to play cleaner downfield, gets too grabby and suspectible to penalties


– 30 career starts
– 2016: 25 tackles, 3.5 TFL, 2 sacks in ten games
– Career: 6 INTs
– Returned 24 kicks in career for 22 yard average
– First-team All Big-Ten selection in 2015 and 2016
– AP First Team All-American senior season
– Missed three games to start season with muscle strain in back and a pulled hamstring

Tape Breakdown

Lewis isn’t a big corner but you know my affinity for the vertically challenged players. The guy can still play. He plays big, which is something I look for in undersized cornerbacks, and should jump out of the gym at the Combine. Great vertical.

Watch him get up and high point the football to contest this throw and cause an incompletion.

What’s most impressive about him is his ability to stay in-phase when in man coverage while tracking the ball. So often, we see guys look back for the ball and lose their feel for the receiver, creating space, and allowing a big play. Lewis is able to do both. You won’t find a better example than this absurd interception to seal the win over Wisconsin in September.

But he can also come downhill to support the run. Slot receiver in this twin set, tackling Corey Clement in space on this toss play.

Lewis likes to play big and physical to the point where he’s going to have to tone it down in coverage. Has to know when to stop chucking the receiver or he’s going to get flagged, though I certainly appreciate the edge he plays with. No idea how this wasn’t noticed.

Because of his size, most will ticket him to the slot at the next level, where he did spend a fair amount of time at Michigan. I wouldn’t have an issue playing him on the outside generally speaking but in Pittsburgh, of course, the slot is the biggest need. If I’m Kevin Colbert, that’s what I’d draft him for.

Give him a year to sit and learn behind William Gay and then potentially (probably?) become the starter in 2018.

Lewis is a little Eric Murray like from last year though Lewis is projected to go higher. Right now, at least.

Projection: Early-Mid Day Two

Games Watched: vs Wisconsin, vs Penn State, vs Florida State, Senior Bowl


Previous 2017 NFL Draft Player Profiles
Deshaun WatsonHaason ReddickMarshon LattimoreCorey ClementTim Williams

About the Author

Alex Kozora

Full-time blogger from mom’s basement. Marrying tape and statistics. Chidi Iwuoma is my favorite Steeler of all-time.

  • CP72

    Great breakdown Alex.

    There’s a high chance that Wille Gay isn’t on the roster two years from now. I don’t know what to expect from Golson. Lewis and Cam Sutton would be my two top candidates to eventual replacement for Gay. The price might be a little high, but you can’t have to many good corners.

  • WreckIess

    He was a borderline shut down kind of guy in college. Great in coverage, great ball skills, ability to play inside or out, and a more than willing tackler. It didn’t hurt that he played on a stacked Michigan defense either, but still he’s a great player. He can even return kicks in a pinch which I understand would be a useless skill on this team seeing as we’ve already resigned Kick Return Jesus AKA Fitzgerald Toussaint, but Lewis can do it too.

  • Bill Sechrengost

    Thanks Alex. It seems like CB is a deep position this year. I would like to see a profile of Desmond King from Iowa. It seems like he has been falling in a lot of people’s eyes. Could be there in the second round. I had heard good things about Fabian Moreau from UCLA in the East West game, too. Keep them coming. I plan to read every one. When is your first mock draft coming out?

  • Spencer Krick

    Great work, I think he’d make a fantastic 2nd round pick if he’s there.

  • falconsaftey43

    Really like his ball awareness. Impressive ability to stay with WR while tracking the ball. They need to draft a DB in the top 4 rounds. Unless you have a great pass defense, you need to be bringing in new DBs highish in the draft every year. You need 6-7 DBs you are confident in putting on the field because you usually play at least 5, and you need some depth and the ability to play 6.

  • Kenneth Wilt

    I love this time of year because it is at this point that guys start rising and falling all over the draft boards. It can be a lot of fun. I personally could see him being our pick in round 3. I like his gritty style about as much as anything. If he could be another option for the slot, I think you got to take a look at him. I could see us carrying 6 CBs in the coming year especially with our depth having virtually zero game experience. Golson, Gilbert, and a draft pick have basically no snaps. Due to this, I expect to carry more than the 5 we normally would.

  • The Sun is Pro-Black

    That first gif….oh my Jesus!

  • Brian Miller

    Thanks Alex. In watching film on Charleton and Peppers I noticed quite a few plays by Stribling as well, especially when he covering a deep route and being able to get an arm in to knock the ball away while in stride. Are you going to do an evaluation on him as well?

  • William Weaver

    Kick return Jesus lol

  • TrappenWeisseGuy ;

    He’s better than anybody currently on the roster.

  • TrappenWeisseGuy ;

    King seemed like just another guy at the senior bowl with questionable speed.

  • Bill Sechrengost

    I remember Alex saying that in his reports. I’ll be interested in seeing how King tests at the combine. He did measure a little smaller than I thought at the Senior Bowl.

  • Steelers12

    not Artie Burns

  • Steelers12

    i think we can get him in the 3rd round and i want him. He one of my favorites

  • Ike Evans

    One of my favs….would me a tremendous slot

  • Sdale

    Yep, and it’s a skillset we just don’t have outside of Gay…and Gay didn’t look as good last year.

  • Alex Kozora

    Right, there isn’t much depth here now unless Golson shows up. Which, who knows, at this point. And Lewis could play on the outside so even if Golson makes an impact, Lewis isn’t left without a role.

  • Alex Kozora

    First mock? Hmm, probably not for another two weeks, at least.

  • Alex Kozora


  • Alex Kozora

    At some point, probably. Keep reminding us, ha.

  • Clutterbox

    He seems like a very gifted athlete, but can he play zone? I’m convince that the Steelers are committed to zone defense unless there is a personnel change.

  • Donte Williams

    i live in columbus ohio and seen that game live i jumped out my seat when he made that play i was like holy bleep. and no im not a suckeye fan

  • Brian Tollini

    I watched that four times before I realized he caught it. It was incredible even without the catch.

  • TrappenWeisseGuy ;

    The current buzz is that teams may be projecting him to move to safety. That’s the kiss of death for a guy like him in terms of draft position. At this point it might take a mighty impressive 40 time for him to sneak into the first.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    Alex…2 lower profile names I would like you to look at is Dare Ogunbowale HB Wisconsin and Cethan Carter TE Nebraska. I like both in the very late rounds and would like to get other opinions.

  • LucasY59

    would be really happy if he was the Steelers 2nd pick, the INT against wisconsin was seriously play of the year material (not that one play is a reason to draft a player) but ball skill could really help the D, getting someone that can create turnovers would really help the D, I dont think they are jumping into the top D in the league, but getting some takeaways could really help win some games, and getting some players with man cover skills could really help them progress towards developing into a group that could be in consideration for a top Defense

    Golson is suposed to be the slot guy (and they still have Gay) but I think if they get Lewis they can compete in camp and at worst they should be able to improve a spot that was a weakness, and at best they have more than one guy that can play that spot (which means Davis should never have to try and play there again) and like the profile showed Lewis could even play some outside CB if needed

  • Steeler4l1f3

    Great post. And thanks for linking the other profiles at the end of your post.

    Request: Taco Charlton and Lorenzo Jerome

  • shaler79

    Steelers fan in Michigan. Saw a lot of Michigan games. Really like Lewis. Steelers nab him in second round. Think he’ll have a better pro career than Peppers.

  • gdeuce

    because he’s played against so many NFL level QBs in college

  • Michael Mosgrove

    not bad. sutton i think is a better fit though,

  • GoSteelerz

    I still have hopes Mike Hilton can emerge as a nickle CB, however with Willie Gay getting older and Golson still an unknown, having depth at that spot makes sense. I’d be fine with us getting a guy like Lewis, looks like a good fit for us.