The New York Giants have so many relative unknowns, both rookies and veterans, jostling for spots as backup cornerbacks that it is impossible to really tell who has a legitimate shot at making the 53-man roster and who does not.
One of the veterans is 29-year-old Chris Lewis-Harris. He has played in 33 games over five seasons, 26 with the Cincinnati Bengals and the last seven in 2016 with the Baltimore Ravens. Lewis-Harris has never started an NFL game and could not find a job last season after the Ravens cut him at the end of the preseason. Per Pro Football Focus, Lewis has been credited with only 137 regular-season defensive snaps over those five seasons.
Does Lewis-Harris have a real chance to make the 53-man roster? Let’s examine the question as we continue our player-by-player profiles of the 90-man roster.
2017 season in review
Lewis-Harris was out of football last season after being cut by the Denver Broncos at the end of the preseason.
To get back into the NFL, Lewis-Harris took the humbling route of going to the Giants rookie mini-camp on a tryout basis. The Giants liked what they saw enough to add him to their collection of veteran corners. That group also includes William Gay, B.W. Webb, Curtis Riley, Kenneth Durden, Teddy Williams and Donte Deayon. The Giants also have undrafted rookies Grant Haley and
Can Lewis-Harris emerge from that group during training camp and the preseason to earn a spot on the 53-man roster?
Gay is the leading candidate for the slot corner role, with Deayon and perhaps Haley nipping at his heels. Riley spent a lot of time at free safety during spring practices. That leaves Webb, Williams, Durden and Lewis-Harris competing for remaining cornerback spots. Webb has 10 starts over four NFL seasons. Williams has played 36 games without a start. Durden spent time on the practice squads of the Oakland Raiders and Tennessee Titans the past two seasons.
I had Lewis-Harris making the cut in my recent 53-man roster prediction, but the competition for backup spots at corner is really impossible to handicap. That seems to be the way the Giants wanted it.
In a 2016 roster profile of Lewis-Harris, our friends at Cincy Jungle, SB Nation’s Bengals website, uncovered this encouraging quote about him:
Since I’ve been here, all I can say is great things about him,” Coyle said via the Cincinnati Enquirer. “He’s reliable, he’s dependable, he’s a team guy. He’s coachable. Competes every day. Doesn’t have a lot to say, but I don’t mean that in a bad way. He’s quiet, confident and aggressive. He’ll fight. Right now, the younger guys haven’t earned spots to go ahead of somebody like that. We’re three days into training camp so I wouldn’t put too much stock into that but I would not necessarily say it’s not indicative of how well Chris has done since I’ve been here. He’s done very well.”
For what it’s worth at this point, here is a play Lewis-Harris made in coverage during a 2015 playoff game vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers.