2020 NFL Draft Profile: Air Force CB Zane Lewis
Can the Falcons cornerback become the latest member of the Academy to make the jump to the pros?
Does he have the goods to keep receivers grounded?
It always feels like a unique accomplishment when a military academy athlete finds success in the professional ranks. Whether it’s Chad Hennings contributing for multiple Super Bowl champions or Garrett Griffin catching a touchdown in a conference championship game, the Air Force Academy has carved out an NFL niche as a place that can develop role players.
It had been 20 years, however, since the Falcons had a selection in the NFL Dfaft until long snapper Austin was taken last spring. Enter cornerback Zane Lewis, who could make two years in a row that the Falcons have a selection in the NFL Draft.
Height – 6′ 1/2″
Weight – 196 pounds
Wingspan – 74 7/8″
Arm Length – 31 7/8″
Hand Size – 8 5/8″
40-Yard Dash – 4.45 seconds
Vertical Jump – 33″
Broad Jump – 120″
3-Cone Drill – 6.84 seconds
20-Yard Shuttle – 4.38 seconds
Bench Press – 8 reps
When the Falcons held their Pro Day in early March, Gil Brandt noted that just ten teams were in attendance but, if a conversation between NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein and an anonymous scout is to be believed, there’s a lot to like in Lewis. For starters, he gets points for strong footwork and agility which, given the NFL’s continued trend toward adding more speed to the passing game, could definitely help him keep up.
Additionally, the 40-yard dash time he put forth compares favorably to many of the bigger names in this year’s class of defensive backs and it translates on the field to more-than-adequate closing speed. That’s best evidenced by the fact that he had not one, but two 99-yard interception returns in his college career.
If there’s one thing that analysts see as an area to improve, it’s the nuances of working down the field. Lewis has an occasional tendency to allow too much space between himself and a pass catcher, which led to a few big plays for opponents, though Zierlein points to reaction time in turning to find the ball and honing instincts as particular things to refine.
According to Brent Briggeman of the Colorado Springs Gazette, Lewis will be one of the first athletes from the Air Force Academy to test the military’s new professional sports policy, but determining whether an NFL team will buy in is murkier. It seems most likely he will get his shot as an undrafted free agent.