One of the most interesting undrafted rookie free agents to emerge unselected from the NFL Draft was Zane Lewis. On Monday afternoon, the New York Jets claimed the rookie, just hours after he was waived by the Arizona Cardinals.
Lewis, a cornerback who played his college football at Air Force, adds immediate depth to the Jets secondary.
A bit of a late bloomer, Lewis didn’t become a regular until his junior season at the service academy where he started the season’s final 11 games. He then started all 13 games his senior season where he finished his college career with 33 tackles, an interception and 15 passes defended.
At 6-foot-1, he has good size to play cornerback on the outside.
He emerged as a possible Day 3 selection after his Pro Day in early March. Lewis ran an impressive 4.43 time in the 40 and had a good 33-inch vertical. Those athletic attributes compared well to a number of the cornerbacks invited to participate at the NFL Combine.
In late December, Lewis made his mark with five tackles and a pass defended in Air Force’s 31-21 win over Washington State in the Cheez-It Bowl. Air Force finished the season 11-2 and nationally ranked at No. 22.
When he signed with the Cardinals after going undrafted, he was given a $20,000 signing bonus.
He joins a Jets secondary that has some emerging depth and talent. Pierre Desir, signed this offseason from the Indianapolis Colts, projects as one of the starting cornerbacks and Bless Austin, a second-year cornerback out of Rutgers, on the other side.
Bryce Hall, taken in the fifth round of the draft, also could see some significant playing time this year on the outside.
Lewis projects as a practice squad signing who could make an impact this year or next year on special teams and as a depth player.