The New York Giants are expected to pursue at least one premier pass rusher in free agency. But even if they find a starting EDGE on the open market, that doesn’t mean that they will, or should, ignore the position in the 2020 NFL Draft. There are no guarantees that the young EDGE players on their roster will develop into starters, and even if they do, no team has ever wanted for too many pass rushers.
Alabama EDGE Terrell Lewis is an intriguing prospect who could be had a good value. He has an exciting blend of size, length, and athleticism, as well as pretty good production his final year at Alabama.
Prospect: Terrell Lewis (EDGE, Alabama)
Games Watched: vs. South Carolina (2019), vs. Arkansas (2019), vs. LSU (2019), vs. Auburn (2019)
Red Flags: Elbow (2017), ACL (2018)
Games Played (starts): 10 (3 starts)
Tackles For a loss: 11.5
Passes Defensed: 2
Best: Length, Athleticism, Versatility
Worst: Play strength, durability
Projection: A rotation EDGE with starting potential in a multiple defense.
Alabama EDGE Terrell Lewis possesses excellent height, weight, and length for the EDGE position at the NFL level. Lewis profiles as a true “EDGE” with the ability to line up as a stand-up rusher, a defensive end in a three-point stance, and has the ability to drop into shallow zone coverage. Lewis flashes an explosive get-off, able to put pressure on offensive tackles with his speed up-field. He flashes a variety of pass rush moves as a speed rusher, including a swim move, a club move, and a spin move. Lewis usually plays with good pad level despite being a long-legged, high-cut rusher and plays with good leverage. He also shows powerful hands and is able to deliver jolts to blockers on power rushes. Lewis has his best success as a power rusher using a long-arm move to take advantage of his length and keep offensive linemen from accessing his chest plate.
Lewis is capable of dropping into shallow coverage zones to disguise zone blitzes, and does a good job of keeping his eyes in the backfield. He is disciplined in picking up and passing off offensive players and moves well enough in space.
He shows good competitive toughness in run defense, consistently playing and battling with blockers through the whistle.
Lewis has considerable health concerns after an elbow injury cost him most of the 2017 season and a torn ACL cost him the 2018 season. Because of his injuries, and the resulting lack of experience, Lewis is a raw prospect who needs coaching in the mental and technical aspects of the game. Also, Lewis needs to develop more play strength for the NFL level. He can be overwhelmed by offensive linemen and even some tight ends in run defense and fail to set a firm edge or disengage to make a play.
Overall Grade: 6.2 I/D - Has the traits to be a potential starter with the floor of a dependable back-up. Injury history presents a boom/bust risk and lack of experience makes development key. Late Day 2, early Day 3 value.
Assuming good health and good coaching, Terrell Lewis projects as a potential starting EDGE in a modern “multiple” defense with the floor of being a good “third” rusher who plays a significant role in a defensive rotation.
However, as he stands now, Lewis is something of a “boom-bust” prospect who offers an exciting athletic upside but his injury history and the impact those injuries have had on his development offer risk. Lewis flashes and explosive first step and the ability to beat blockers off the snap as a speed rusher, as well as the potential of a power counter when blockers over-commit to defending his speed. He flashes a dangerous spin move, a good inside move, and an effective long-arm move to take advantage of his length. However, he doesn’t seem to rush with a “plan” yet and doesn’t make full use of his athleticism to set blockers up to be beaten later.
Lewis also needs to build more play strength to improve both his power moves and to avoid being a target in the run game.
If Lewis is able to polish his game and improve his play strength, his frame and athletic upside make him one of the more intriguing EDGE prospects in the draft. However, each team must decide for themselves just how big an “if” that is, and how comfortable they are with the risk.