Summary: Even though they are at a disadvantage, there are plenty of small cornerbacks who turn into quality NFL players. Lewis could easily keep that tradition alive as he was an impressive cover corner while at Michigan.
Lewis made his presence felt as a sophomore when he recorded 39 tackles with two interceptions and six passes broken up. In 2015, he was even better with a ridiculous 20 passes broken up, two interceptions and 52 tackles. The junior also averaged 25.2 yards per kick return. As a senior, Lewis had 25 tackles with 11 passes broken up and two interception. He was very good in 2016 for the Wolverines.
There is a lot to like about Lewis as a cover corner. He has excellent feet to run the route with receivers and keep them from getting separation. When they do gain a step, Lewis has a nice burst and excellent recoverability. He also possesses body control and does a superb job of playing the ball as he has good ball skills to hit passes away and is a threat to create interceptions. On top of those attributes, Lewis is a willing tackler who will contribute to run defense. He is an instinctive player who finds a way to make big plays.
Obviously, Lewis has some limitations because he is short and light for an NFL corner. At the Senior Bowl, Lewis told WalterFootball.com he was planning on gaining some weight. Still, Lewis could a mismatch against big receivers on the outside or in the slot. Teams could target Lewis in the red zone, so he will need to be protected and put in the right situations to be effective.
For the NFL, Lewis will be a great fit as a slot cornerback. He has the loose hips to turn and run with fast receivers plus the foot speed to run with them. Lewis would be a very good solid slot cornerback and looks likely to be a second-day pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Player Comparison: Jason Verrett. Lewis and Verrett have identical measurements with a similar style of play. They are both undersized but superb at running the route to prevent separation. Each has have great feet with speed and athleticism, too. Verrett is a very good pro corner, and I could see Lewis being similar, though perhaps not quite as good.
NFL Matches: Indianapolis, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Tennessee, Detroit, Miami, Oakland, Kansas City, Dallas, Cleveland, Chicago, New York Jets, New Orleans and Buffalo
There are a lot of potential fits for Lewis in the early rounds of the 2017 NFL Draft. To start the second day, the Browns could consider a cornerback at pick 33. Cleveland has Joe Haden and Jamar Taylor, but all good defenses have three corners. Lewis is a good fit for Gregg Williams as well.
The Colts need another corner to pair with Vontae Davis. Philadelphia, for its part, needs some cornerback upgrades. Lewis could be in play for either of these teams in the second round.
The Ravens could use a corner upgrade to go with Jimmy Smith, while the Lions could use a corner to pair with Darius Slay. Miami could consider adding a corner to pair with Xavien Howard.
The Raiders need some cornerback upgrades after having coverage problems during the 2016 season. Staying in the AFC West, Kansas City could use a corner upgrade across from Marcus Peters. Dallas could also consider upgrading its cornerback talent.
Cornerback is a need for the 49ers and Bears. Either team could select Lewis early in Round 2 of the 2017 NFL Draft. New Orleans needs cornerback help as well. The Bills could lose Stephon Gilmore in free agency, so Lewis could be in play for them.
The Titans need cornerback help, but without a second-round pick, Lewis would probably only end up in Tennessee if he slipped to the third round.