Has good speed and burst and has the ability to bounce plays outside. Does a good job in space, and can be very elusive. Has quick feet and plays with good balance. Has a nice spin move to juke defenders. Has a good jump cut, and has ability to sneak through gaps and creases between his blockers showing good vision to find daylight. Is patient, follows his blockers and is able to hide behind bigger guys. Flashes good burst to and through the hole.
Lacks size and not a threat to break many tackles. Feet tend to go dead upon contact. Dances too much in the hole and the backfield. Doesn't do a good job securing the ball against his body when he's running traffic. Not going to contribute much in pass protection.
Lewis is a quick, scat back that is very elusive and hard to tackle. He has the potential to be a good change of pace runner in the right system. He had a breakout campaign as a freshman with 325 carries for 1799 yards (5.5 avg) and 17 touchdowns. He also caught 25 passes. Had a slightly disappointing sophomore campaign with 219 carries for 1061 yards (4.8 avg) and 13 touchdowns and 27 catches, splitting reps with Ray Graham for most of the season. But finished strong with 365 yards on 64 carries and 5 touchdowns in his last two games. Missed a game this past year due to a shoulder injury.
Lewis has the makings of a good third down back at the next level, although his skills in pass protection will need to improve before he can be trusted there. He wasn't really asked to do too much of that at PItt. He does have good hands and can be a factor in the passing game on screens because of how dangerous he is in space. He is not a true burner in the sense that he'll run past defenders at the next level, but he does have good speed and burst to make big plays when he gets a seam. Because of his quickness and footwork, he can be an effective runner between the tackles, but will probably be harder pressed to produce there at the next level as he is in college. So he'll probably fit best in a scheme that will use him on the outside in space and such. He can be a good runner in a zone blocking because of his quickness and ability to cutback and bounce plays outside. The main issue with Lewis going forward will be durability and whether or not he can improve his ball security to be a trusted contributor on the ground. While he carried the load a few times at Pitt, his body and frame isn't going to hold up to a significant NFL punishment. And if ball security becomes a problem, he's a guy that won't be trusted for more than 5-10 carries rather than 10-15 carries he's capable of toting. But he should be able to come in right away and contribute in a limited role on offense and potentially as well on special teams. And as he gets stronger and more comfortable in pass protection in his second and third year can start to take a bigger role on offense. Probably the best comparison to his NFL future is probably Darren Sproles.
Lewis could fit in Atlanta because of his potential production in the passing game. While he's not a true gamebreaker, he has more than enough speed to make some big plays and bust plays on the second level. Pitt has a very similar blocking scheme to the Falcons, so he should be effective in a limited role. As a rookie, he could contribute in a small role, but his real value comes in his second and third years when he should be trusted enough in pass protection to fill regularly on third downs. He's probably not going to be a guy that gets more than 5-8 carries/touches a game in a Mularkey-run offense, but can fill a similar niche as to what Amos Zereoue had in Pittsburgh for those few years he was there and be a guy that can catch 40-50 passes off the bench.
Lewis can add quality depth to a unit, but his limited upside as a starter is probably going to mean he is stuck in the middle rounds. He would make a solid third round pick for a team.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
Scouting reports of the running backs and fullbacks in the 2011 Draft.
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