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Roger Lewis Jr. is striving for greatness in 2017

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Former UDFA reflects on his rookie year and looks forward to improving over the offseason

Baltimore Ravens v New York Giants Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

The 2016 New York Giants were one of the most successful Giants teams in recent history. Their 11 wins made the franchise’s best regular season record since going 12-4 in the 2008 season

Much was made of their offseason investments in free agency, but the 2016 Giants also featured a talented rookie class. The Giants’ return to their winning ways was truly a team effort, and they received contributions from up and down their draft class.

Sunday I caught up with one of them, Roger Lewis Jr., and he was kind enough to talk with me about his rookie year and how he plans to get better for 2017.

“What really stood out, I think, is my special teams play,” Lewis said when I asked him about his rookie season. “And, of course, I wanted to score more touchdowns, but I think I had a pretty good rookie season. Now it’s time to up the notch and strive for greatness.”

It was interesting to me that the first thing that his first response was his special teams play. Fans usually disregard special teams play — unless, of course, it is hurting the team — so I had to ask how he wanted to improve that for next season.

“Just getting off blocks and stuff like that,” he said. ”Trying to get used to it, because I never had to tackle nobody. But, on special teams you have to tackle people, you have to block people, and probably just getting off of blocks and stuff like that.”

Of course, his other job, the one for which he is more widely known, is wide receiver. One of the first things he said to me was that he wants to “strive for greatness,” so I asked him what is looking to work on in his first NFL offseason. He said, “As a wideout, be able to just lock in, be able to lock in and just score more touchdowns and be more of a play-maker.”

And finally, it was a story early in the season that Lewis was a fan of Eli Manning in grade school, with a picture of him wearing No. 10’s jersey making Giants’ fans smile everywhere.

I, of course, just had to ask him what it’s like to live the dream, to go from wearing Eli’s jersey to catching touchdown from him.

“I think it’s a blessing,” Lewis told me. “From me wearing his jersey in middle school to me being a fan of him, him winning a Super Bowl. And now you know me catching balls from Eli Manning, I mean, it’s a blessing. He’s helping me a lot, he helped me grow a lot as a person and as a man, so it’s a big deal.”

Thanks again to Roger Lewis for his time sitting down with me!