Well they've done it agian. The Patriots have found yet another diamond in the rough, and he goes by the name of Dion Lewis. Leave it to Bill to find a player like this, but time and time again he manages to do so. While the Patriots have had many young players make a legitimate bid at a roster spot during this preseason, but one name that stands out above the rest is the former Pitt product, Lewis.
Lewis has been bounced around to a few different teams, but it seems as though he has finally found a home in New England. Lewis has been a standout during the Pats’ last two preseason games, and he is making a big push to become the offenses’ third down back.
All the early indications were that Travaris Cadet was going to claim that role, but Lewis has given him a run for his money. Lewis has had great timing with backup quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo, as shown on their second half touchdown connection in the last preseason game, and has demonstrated his ability to catch out of the backfield.
What makes him a unique player is his shiftiness, and ability to lose defenders. Although he has only managed to grab nine balls for 56 yards, he has demonstrated that he can lose defenders, and move the chains in critical conditions.
It doesn’t seem as though the Patriots will run the ball with Lewis though, as they have leaned more towards James White and company for that. Lewis looks as though he will be used exclusively as a receiving back, with perhaps the occasional draw play mixed in. If he does claim the role as the third down back, expect him to be utilized much like Danny Woodhead or Shane Vereen.
What’s key about Lewis is that he has been bounced around the league for a couple years now. He has been a part of the Eagles, Browns, and Colts organizations. So he knows the importance of preforming well, and trying to make a roster spot. He is going to give his everything for this team, and so far, it has shown on the field.
If Lewis makes the team, and it appears as though he will, he is not going to put up monster numbers. He will, however, be a very solid piece, in what is already, a very deep offense. He could provide that much needed spark out of the back field, and could give the running back core some unpredictability, considering that most are solely power runners who like to gash straight through defenses.
While many players have stood out so far for the Pats, Lewis seems to be the most NFL ready of them all. He fits in perfectly with the role that he has been asked to play, and, while it’s only been a small sample size, he has yet to make any major mistakes which would warrant worry on the part of the Patriots.
For a young player, he has dealt with adversity and has seen a fair amount of NFL playing time. I believe that the Patriots have caught lightening in a bottle with this player. Now, I am not saying that Lewis will be as good as someone like Darren Sproles, but he can contribute, and add another level to an already high powered offense.
With the final week of cuts coming up, I would imagine that Lewis will get a solid amount of playing time in the preseason finale against the Giants. It will interesting to watch how Lewis preforms in what will be his curtain call for the preseason.
As the Patriots have shown in the past, they are not willing to keep players who are not going to contribute in one way or another. They only give out roster spots to players who they feel can help the team out in any way possible. Lewis could very well be one of those guys, and I am certain that not only will he make the final cut of 53 players, he will also show up in a big way on Sunday’s.
By Jake Cianci