Football analytics website Pro Football Focus believes this Dallas Cowboys rookie defender has emerged as a possible Rookie of the Year candidate.
After only three weeks of regular season play is it realistic to think we can identify legitimate Rookie of the Year candidates? If your a breakout player like Kansas City Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt, the answer appears to be a solid yes. But if your Dallas Cowboys cornerback Jourdan Lewis, the talk might just be a bit premature.
Especially since Lewis didn’t even make his debut until Week Two against the Denver Broncos. Prior to that, the Cowboys third round selection out of Michigan missed nearly all of training camp and the entire preseason due to a hamstring injury. So even Cowboy fans themselves haven’t seen much play from the 22-year old defensive back.
But in the last two games, Lewis has played a whopping 113 total snaps on defense. Cowboys coaches were forced to play the rookie earlier than they wanted to due to injuries suffered by veteran cornerback Nolan Carroll (concussion) and second round selection Chidobe Awuize (hamstring).
In his debut in Denver, Lewis played nearly 85% of the team’s defensive snaps. And the former Wolverine followed up that performance by playing nearly 60% of the time on defense against the Arizona Cardinals Monday night. In that span, Lewis has recorded a total of 12 solo tackles, two pass defends and one interception.
According to the football analytics website Pro Football Focus, and despite the small sample size, a deeper look into the numbers reveals Lewis is actually emerging as an early Rookie of the Year candidate.
"“Lewis has allowed 0.82 yards per coverage snap this season, the fourth lowest rate among rookies,” wrote William Moy on Pro Football Focus. “Lewis ranks 11th among cornerbacks in terms of overall grade and he’s one of just four cornerbacks to have both a coverage grade and run defense grade north of 80.0, joining Jason McCourty, Trevor Williams and Chris Harris Jr.”"
Regardless of the numbers, Jourdan Lewis still has a lot to prove in order to secure his place as a starter in the Dallas Cowboys secondary, much less earning the coveted Defensive Rookie of the Year award. But there’s little doubt that the young man’s play through his first two games as a professional has exceeded expectations.