Dion Lewis Ready For Larger Role

With all the hype surrounding LeSean McCoy’s new contract, people are forgetting that the running game does not rest solely on the shoulders of the 2009 second-round pick. In the 2011 draft, the Eagles drafted a small back from Shady’s alma mater, Pittsburgh, Dion Lewis. Lewis rarely saw the field during the 2012 season as the third back on the Eagles roster behind McCoy and Ronnie Brown.

Entering his second season, it is expected that Lewis can bring more to the field with a full offseason under his belt. With just 23 carries for 102 yards (4.4 yd avg) all of last season, Lewis spent most of his time returning kickoffs.

In 15 games Lewis returned 31 kicks for 669 yards (21.6 yd avg), good for 16th in the league. Of the 15 players ahead of him, only two had fewer returns than Lewis. With little to no college experience returning kicks, Lewis showed no growing pains in his rookie year and only fumbled the ball once.

Entering 2012, Lewis will be fighting with a rookie to possibly retain his position as the kick returner. Brandon Boykin returned 110 kicks in his three seasons at Georgia averaging 24.2 yards per return. Boykin returned four kicks for touchdowns including three in his sophomore year. The Georgia grad will certainly give Lewis a run for his money for a starting job on the roster.

With much speculation in the early offseason as to which free agent running back to sign, it looked like Lewis might be fighting for the backup spot in the backfield as well. By not signing any free agent backs, and not drafting one until the seventh round in April’s draft, it seems like the front office has some confidence in the fifth round pick from a year ago.

Despite the small stature, Lewis is confident and ready to compete with anyone who comes into the Eagles backfield. In a conversation with him before last year’s training camp, number 27 told me that he knew he could make a career out of playing football at just 11 years old.

While many comparisons are drawn between McCoy and Lewis based on the ability to make defenders whiff in the open field, Lewis says he likes to style his play after a different Pro Bowl running back, Maurice Jones-Drew of the Jacksonville Jaguars. It is easy to see why an undersized back would liken himself to a player who could have faced similar challenges to get into the league. Listed at 5’8 but actually measuring at 5’6 5/8 at the 2011 Combine, the New York native is just 1/8 of an inch taller than MJD, and weighs about ten pounds less.

Lewis does not shy from contact and told me that he would describe himself as a back with great vision and quickness who likes to run inside. In his limited time last season and preseason, he showed some surprising moves both in crowded spaces in the middle and in the open field. These moves have earned him the nickname of “Baby Shady” by some.

If Dion can get anywhere near the 2011 Rushing Title winner in MJD or the Eagles current superstar running back, it will definitely be a more dangerous backfield than it already is. Regardless, with a year under his belt, Lewis will bring more to this offense than he did a year ago and will serve as a great compliment to 2011’s surprise player, LeSean McCoy.

10 thoughts on “Dion Lewis Ready For Larger Role

  1. I don’t think Lewis is a number two back in the NFL. He lacks straight line speed and size. I think he stays number three on this team behind Brown or Polk.

  2. interesting – I have seen his 40 time between 4.45 adn 4.65 – most sites list at 4.5 –

    only did two years of college – broke Dorsett and Shady’s records – outrushed McCoy during Freshman and sophmore years…

    key question will be whihc one can pass block I think..

  3. We have some interesting backup RB’s, but they are all young and unproven in the NFL.
    I would like to see the Birds pick up a veteran RB after some cutdowns, but these young guys should be fun to watch during camp. Shadey cannot continue to take as many snaps as last year and stay healthy and fresh for the playoffs (yeah, I said PLAYOFFS boys, this is a new year and the NFC East will have to be dealing with a new Birds team!!!!!).

  4. Paul, Moats was far less productive in college, and they are very different styles. Lewis, despite his size, runs well between the tackles and does not require space to make something happen. Lewis is stouter than Moats was.

    And remember folks, Paulman cannot tell the future, and in fact his track record predicting it is piss poor.

    We’ll have to wait and see with Lewis does. But to suggest anyone knows now is to either convince yourself of bullshit, to outright lie, or to be a fool.

    Kid will have a whole offseason with other young RBs pushing him, and an advantage having played last year.

    But if he doesn’t work out, it won’t be because he’s like Ryan Moats. Different runners.

    Paul, you gotta do better than that lazy analysis and speculation.

  5. Again, Schiller sticking up for his Alma Mater Players from PItt even though the facts and stats say different.
    In case you weren’t aware, Ryan Moats was one of the All-Time Yardarge producers when he finished his playing days down at Lousiana Tech, (Division II) when en entered the Draft. He had set rushing,receiving,return yards stats that were superior to what RB D Lewis ever did while at Pitt.. I lgenuinely like Pitt Players Schiller, just not your boy Lewis who will be out of football by 2013 (he can’t block very well, has marginal hands and proved last year, that his return games skills are nothing to get excited about..)

  6. dudes – LuTech (Ryan Moats) is a Div I school (WAC) – Hard to compare the two becuase Moats did 3 years -Lewis did 2 in college

    Year School Conf Class Pos Att Yds Avg TD 6 Rec Yds Avg TD Plays Yds Avg TD
    2004 Louisiana Tech WAC JR RB 288 1774 6.2 18 15 116 7.7 1 303 1890 6.2 19
    2003 Louisiana Tech WAC SO RB 199 1300 6.5 10 27 251 9.3 1 226 1551 6.9 11
    2002 Louisiana Tech WAC FR RB 12 38 3.2 0 6 74 12.3 0 18 112 6.2 0

    2009 Pittsburgh Big East FR RB 325 1799 5.5 17 25 189 7.6 1 350 1988 5.7 18
    2010 Pittsburgh Big East SO RB 219 1061 4.8 13 27 216 8.0 0 246 1277 5.2 13

    so take away Moats Freshman – year these guys are semi-compatable stat wise – they are about the same size (5 – 7/8 200)

    moats was conference O player of the year – LEwis was rookie of the year, O player of the year etc. Lewis did gain more ‘accolades’

    I think the main difference coming out of college – and this is just my opinion – guys coming out of the Big East (Pitt/Cincy etc.) seem to be a little more ‘NFL’ ready..

    Moats couldn’t block.. so he couldn’t stay on the field – Lewis did not see much time – but if he wants to be the #2 back – he will have to show in camp and pre-season he can block and pick up the blitz.

  7. And in navy’s shorter post, factor in 3 years for moats and only 2 for Lewis. But my point is that once those two rbs take a handoff, they have different running styles, and Lewis has a style that is more conducive to playing in the nfl than maots did. That is, take a handoff and get positive straight ahead yardage. Moats was usless on a handoff unless it was a stretch play.

  8. Lewis’ success or failure is completely dependent on the quality of the O-Line…which is a question mark.

    Because Lewis is a one cut runner if there’s no hole like what happened many times last year when he did finally get in I don’t know how much stepping up into a larger role he’s gonna be able to do.

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