As we hit the summer portion of the offseason, Touchdown Alabama Magazine will be releasing a series of player spotlight pieces on starters and marquee contributors for the 2019 football season. In these articles, we will dive into the strengths and weaknesses of each player, provide expectations for 2019, give NFL Draft projections for those who are eligible, and conclude with how each one can impact the team.
The next defender will be Terrell Lewis.
Position: Outside linebacker
Classification: Redshirt Junior
2018 Stats: (Missed due to injury)
Defending the run
In his three years playing at the University of Alabama, there isn’t a whole lot of tape on Terrell Lewis. But whatever little there is, is quite impressive. What sticks out the most when studying Lewis is the level of competition that he is dominating.
During the 2016 campaign, he came back from an elbow injury in time for the College Football Playoff against Clemson and Georgia. Two of the best teams in the country stood in front of the 6-5 outside linebacker and he didn’t blink.
That’s because he is a player with sound technique and a frightening combination of power and speed.
Lewis is best utilized as a down linebacker coming off the edge as a pass rusher and he really shines in that department. His stunts are fluid with sharp angles and also does a great job of getting separation on a bull rush.
Something to also look at when watching Lewis rush the passer is his never give in mindset. Even if a quarterback or running back is running downfield he will run him down like he stole his second Reeses Cup.
Another impressive trait about Lewis is his ability to set the edge in the run game along with the ability to process read-option plays. Both are extremely important skills at the college level and more so in the pros. These skills were put on full display against Georgia in the 2016-17 College Football Playoff National Championship. He had seven total tackles and a huge sack which forced a field goal in overtime.
Lewis’ toughness is also constantly put on display. He has suffered injuries to his elbow and ACL the past two seasons and yet he finds a way to come back and not miss a beat.
Yep, that’s it, but it’s a huge problem. Like I said earlier the last two seasons Lewis has battled major injuries to his knee and elbow. There was also a scare earlier this spring where he sprained his knee and was eventually held out of the A-Day spring game.
Typically when players go to the NFL they don’t magically get healthier so it is definitely a massive area of concern for some teams. What’s really frightening is the knee problems so early on in his career. These injuries have robbed great athletes from having long careers too many times.
At the moment he still rated as a first-round pick by most draft experts but I am sure that they will be paying close attention to the health of the outside linebacker during the 2019-20 season.
To address his coverage skills, it’s mostly a product of him specializing in rushing the passer. It isn’t super necessary right now but it is another skill worth developing to raise your value at the next level.
Some may get frustrated by constantly bringing up the NFL with Lewis but he is just simply too talented not to picture him playing on Sundays.
I’m going to say it one last time, Lewis needs to put together as limited injured of a season as possible. Not only because it will hurt his draft stock, but also because this guy has already been through too much in his career at Alabama. You hate to see a guy who worked so hard to get here only get to play in Bryant-Denny Stadium a limited amount of times.
Lewis is also expected to be a leader and mentor to young outside linebackers Eyabi Anoma and Chris Allen. Both will be the next guys up after he and Anfernee Jennings leave and it would be smart to take them under their wings.
2020 NFL Draft Expectations
Terrell Lewis: First Round (Mid-Late)
Competition: Anfernee Jennings (Alabama), Curtis Weaver (Boise State), Khalid Kareem (Notre Dame), Jabari Zuniga (Florida)
It goes without saying that everyone is rooting for Terrell Lewis to have a fully healthy 2019-20 season. He’s worked way too hard and is too talented to have such bad fortune. But whenever Lewis is on the field he will have an obvious impact in the run game and rushing the passer. He will also be integral to bringing back the tenacious defense which Alabama teams are accustomed to having.
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Patrick Dowd is a Reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter, via Pat_Dowd77.