It's all about the upside.
When it comes to Alabama linebacker Terrell Lewis, that was the key to being selected in the 2020 NFL Draft. Regardless of his injury issues in the past, he's still considered a top football prospect when tremendous potential.
Plus, Lewis plays a position that every team covets. Affecting a quarterback is one thing, but an effective edge rusher with a quick first step can be a game-changer in today's NFL.
He'll do so with the Los Angeles Rams, who took him with the 84th selection in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft on Friday.
“The pass rush ability is real," ESPN draft analyst Kel Kiper Jr. said about Lewis, whom he projected to be a second- or early third-round selection.
"He can have his hand on the ground [or] play in space on his feet.”
Kevin Hanson of Sports Illustrated had Lewis as the 45th-overall prospect in his final Big Board rankings.
"Missing virtually all of 2017 and 2018, Lewis recorded 11.5 tackles for loss, six sacks and had a team-high 16 QB hurries in 2019," Hanson wrote. "Even though he's a little raw in his development given the amount of time he has missed, Lewis has explosive burst off the edge, tremendous length and plenty of upside as he continues to develop."
Raw was a word Daniel Jeremiah also used, but also called Lewis a classic book-or-bust player.
"That's going to be interesting because there are some teams that are concerned there with him on the medical," the NFL Network analyst said. "You know, he might go a little bit lower than his ability suggests he should. He's my 101st player."
The former five-star recruit and Washington D.C. Gatorade Player of the Year at St. John's High School, Lewis played in 11 games as a true freshman and looked like he could be Alabama's next great linebacker.
However, after winning a starting job in 2017, he ended up back on the sideline after suffering an upper-arm injury against Florida State. Lewis missed 10 games, but made a big contribution in the national championship game against Georgia.
The 2018 season brought another setback, though, with a torn right ACL suffered in the summer.
Despite suffering a hyperextended knee at South Carolina, he tallied 31 tackles, 11.5 for loss, six sacks and two pass breakups.
Lewis was a second-team All-SEC selection in 2019.
"You see the flashes," Jeremiah said. "I mean, he's got some freaky change-of-direction ability. There's some Danielle Hunter to him when you watch him. I see some similarities there. The upside is great. But he disappears at times, and unfortunately he hasn't been able to stay healthy, and he's just got to continue to grow and develop and become more polished as a player."