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2020 NFL Draft Prospect: Edge Rusher Terrell Lewis

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This week’s prospect analysis will be on another Alabama player, this time on the other side of the ball

Tennessee v Alabama Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Alabama Crimson Tide continue to produce blue-chip NFL draft prospects, this time, for the 2020 NFL Draft Class. With surefire first round prospects such as QB Tua Tagovailoa, WR Jerry Jeudy, WR Henry Ruggs III, DL Raekwon Davis, and S Xavier McKinney taking up a great portion of the Crimson Tide blue-chip prospect spotlight for this year’s draft, an underrated option, who may be available for the Ravens at pick 28, is edge rusher Terrell Lewis.

With growing uncertainty surrounding the future of star pass-rusher Matt Judon, the Ravens may feel obligated to spend an early draft pick on an edge rusher. Regardless on whether Judon returns or not, drafting an edge defender, who would immediately improve the team’s pass rush, is a major priority. Although Jaylon Ferguson showed promise, and Tyus Bowser performed well at times, in order for the Ravens to put themselves in the Super Bowl conversation for the 2020-2021 season, another piece is needed to solidify the Ravens’ at times, inconsistent pass-rush. Having a menacing pass-rush paired with their already stout secondary would make the Ravens’ defense much more difficult to move the ball on. That is why I feel drafting Terrell Lewis at pick 28 would be a smart decision.

Alabama Edge Rusher Terrell Lewis

Height: 6’5 Weight: 258

2019 Stats: 21 solo tackles, 10 assisted, 11.5 TFL, 6 Sacks, 2 PDs, 1 FR

Lewis had an injury plagued start to his college career at Alabama, dealing with season-ending injuries that included a torn ligament in his elbow during his freshman year and a torn ACL before the start of his sophomore year. Luckily, Lewis took advantage of a clean bill of health and had a breakout season. Lewis has the physical tools as well as the pedigree to be a very good player in the pros. At the same time, Lewis will need to refine his skillset as a pass-rusher in order to simultaneously complement his physical attributes.

Strengths:

  • Lewis has a very impressive get-off after the snap
  • He times the snap very well and repeatedly showed his ability to beat the offensive tackle immediately after the snap
  • Lewis has a very powerful one-armed jab to the chest of the offensive tackle
  • He frequently uses the jab to knock the tackle off of his base and give himself leverage to pressure the QB
  • His chiseled, high cut, and long limbed frame fits the bill of an impactful NFL pass-rusher
  • Lewis was an absolute menace for LSU offensive tackles to deal with when Alabama and LSU faced one another during the regular season
  • Lewis proved to be the only Alabama pass-rusher who consistently brought pressure and took Joe Burrow out of his comfort zone
  • Lewis is also very flexible; he lacks stiffness, which allows him to dip under and beat the less flexible offensive tackles
  • He uses his long arms to his advantage by often being the first to initiate contact when facing an offensive tackle
  • Lewis demonstrated great awareness in his ability to dip around the inside shoulder of the offensive tackle and create pressure from the interior
  • Lewis showcased his ability to be effective in coverage; being exposed to the nuances of being a cover linebacker as well as a pass-rusher undoubtedly puts his stock higher than other pass-rushers

Weaknesses:

  • The main area of concern surrounding Lewis is his injury history
  • As a young player susceptible to serious injuries, such concerns will be the main reason for a potential drop in draft stock as some GMs and coaches may feel that he won’t be able to stay healthy in the NFL
  • At times, Lewis is a very reckless pass-rusher
  • Lewis sometimes rushes without a calculated plan of attack, which leaves him completely out of the play
  • Lewis has a hard time finishing sacks, and that pairs directly with his reckless manner when rushing after QBs
  • In the NFL, if Lewis continues to recklessly pursue quarterbacks, such an intense burst in contrast to the nimbleness of NFL quarterbacks will result in many of these quarterbacks not having too difficult of a time eluding Lewis’ pressure
  • One could argue that Lewis is more of a raw pass-rusher, but nonetheless has the tools to succeed in the pros

Terrell Lewis Floor Player Comparison: Brian Burns

Terrell Lewis Ceiling Player Comparison: Bud Dupree

How Lewis Fits on the Ravens:

It’s pretty evident that the Ravens need to bolster their pass-rush to complete their defense. The pass-rush relied on the secondary to blanket the opposing team’s receivers, which, just by virtue of the quarterback holding on to the ball, allowed for the pass-rush to get home. Adding a player like Terrell Lewis would allow for more of a natural pass-rush to take place where the presence of an athletic pass-rusher like Lewis would allow for the pass-rush to make certain moves and beat the opposing team’s tackles and guards outright. Though Lewis is still a raw pass-rusher, I don’t see it taking too long for Lewis to refine his skillset and pair it with his physical gifts to create a dangerous pass-rusher.

Assuming that the Ravens retain Matt Judon, a combination of an all-around rusher like Judon, a speed to power rusher like Lewis, and a straight up bull-rusher in Ferguson would allow for the team to have many pass-rush options in such a diverse trio of players. That being said, if the Ravens fail to retain Judon, the team is essentially obligated to spend a high draft pick on a pass-rusher, and drafting Lewis would be a good first step into replacing the production of a player like Judon.