It was the first practice for the Dallas Cowboys new rookies at the team's Rookie Mini Camp at the team's Frisco headquarters. Fort Worth Star-Telegram Cowboys beat writers Clarence Hill and Charean Williams share their thoughts on the rookies. pmoseley@star-telegram.com
It was the first practice for the Dallas Cowboys new rookies at the team's Rookie Mini Camp at the team's Frisco headquarters. Fort Worth Star-Telegram Cowboys beat writers Clarence Hill and Charean Williams share their thoughts on the rookies. pmoseley@star-telegram.com

Dallas Cowboys

Third-round pick Jourdan Lewis plans on making Cowboys proud

By Charean Williams

cjwilliams@star-telegram.com

May 12, 2017 07:01 PM

UPDATED May 12, 2017 11:47 PM

FRISCO

Taco Charlton revealed Friday that he calls his former Michigan teammate, Jourdan Lewis, “The Mirror.”

“He’s a great cover corner,” said Charlton, the Dallas Cowboys’ first-round draft pick. “I call him a ‘Mirror’ because wherever a receiver is, he’s probably right there, too. He’s a two-time All-American for a reason. He does some great things. He’s got the best feet I’ve seen as a corner. I’m happy to have him back on the outside of me again, because when he’s on the outside of me, I know I’ve got maybe an extra second or so.”

But Lewis, the Cowboys’ third-round pick, acted as if the nickname was news to him.

“The what? The Mirror?” Lewis said. “Oh, that’s cool. Yeah, I hope that sticks. That’s a nice little nickname.”

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The Cowboys spent four of nine draft choices on defensive backs. With second-round choice Chidobe Awuzie not participating in the first day of rookie minicamp because of graduation, all eyes were on Lewis.

“You could see what we liked on film out there today at practice,” secondary coach Joe Baker said. “He’s got exceptional quickness. That’s probably the thing that really jumps out more than anything is that quickness and ability to change direction that really is what makes exceptional cover guys, and that was evident out there today.”

Lewis gained experience both outside and inside in Michigan’s defense during his three seasons as a starter. His versatility appealed to the Cowboys, but his size (5 foot 10, 188) and his length (31  5/8-inch arms) dropped him into the third round.

Lewis likely starts his career inside on the slot receiver.

But Friday marked the first day of the rest of the rookies’ careers. Baker said the Cowboys are a long way from figuring out how Awuzie, Lewis and sixth-round pick Marquez White fit with returning corners Orlando Scandrick and Anthony Brown.

“We’ve got some good problems now that we have a lot of guys who can do a lot of things,” Baker said. “Usually what ends up happening is it ends up sorting itself out as you go, so you just sort of give it time and usually it plays out as, ‘OK who’s going to be best outside and who will be best inside.’

“We already have ideas about certain guys. We know Orlando is an exceptional nickel. We know that Jourdan was an exceptional nickel in college, but he can also play outside. Orlando’s also played outside. Anthony Brown played inside, but played really well outside as well. We had ideas about where we’ll start, but I think we’re a long way away from where it’s going to end up, and we’ve just got to let it play out on the grass.”

Lewis, though, has an off-field matter to resolve before training camp. He goes to trial July 24 for a misdemeanor domestic violence charge in Ann Arbor, Mich. Lewis pleaded not guilty last month, and he professed his innocence again Friday.

“I’m confident I’ll be exonerated from all charges,” Lewis said. “I’m just here to work right now. I’m excited to get to work and show my worth.”

Lewis did that at Michigan. The Big Ten recognized him as the league’s best defensive back the past two seasons, and Lewis leaves UM with the Wolverines’ single-season record for pass breakups (22 in 2015) and the team’s career mark (45). The secondary-needy Cowboys hope for the same production from Lewis in the NFL; Lewis expects it.

“I just love to go out there and compete,” Lewis said. “That’s definitely where my motivation comes from. I want to be the best regardless of wherever I was drafted.” 

Charean Williams: 817-390-7760, @NFLCharean