There does appear to be at least one opening on the New York Giants' roster for a reserve defensive lineman. Can Melvin Lewis, a 6-foot-2, 343-pound undrafted free agent nose tackle from Kentucky, fill it? Let's take a closer look at Lewis as we continue of series of player-by-player profiles of the 90-man roster the Giants will bring to training camp.
2015 Season in Review
Lewis had his senior season at Kentucky cut short by a broken fibula. He totaled 20 tackles, including two tackles for loss and one sack in six games before being injured. As a junior, he totaled 37 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and 0.5 sacks while starting all 12 games.
In a scouting report, Tony Pauline of TFY Draft Insider says:
Lewis is a wide bodied gap occupier who could line up at nose tackle if healthy and physically prepared for the rigors of the NFL.
2016 Season Outlook
Damon Harrison is, of course, the primary nose tackle for the Giants. Johnathan Hankins, who will slide over next to Harrison and play the 3-tech, has also had success at the nose. The Giants also have Montori Hughes, a three-year veteran who played decently for them during seven games after being promoted from the practice squad. Hughes, though, missed most of the spring with some type of leg injury.
Can Lewis force his way into the picture? Wide-bodied, run-stuffing linemen who can command a double team are a commodity. We won't know if Lewis can be one at the NFL level until we see what happens when pads come on during training camp and in the preseason games. Still, look no farther than Harrison -- a former undrafted free agent now considered possibly the league's best nose tackle -- for an example of a player once in Lewis's current position who has become a premier player.