Reading the tea leaves on Washington Football Team’s latest roster moves
By Jonathan Eig
New Guys: Defense
Donald Payne and Ryan Lewis can be seen as direct offsets. Payne would play a role similar to that of Harvey-Clemons, providing deep depth at the linebacking position and being a steady contributor on special teams. But Payne, an undersized, speedy linebacker, looks like a carbon copy of 2020 draft pick Khaleke Hudson, and it is very difficult to see both hybrid players making the team.
The pessimistic way of looking at his signing is that the coaches have not liked what they have seen from Hudson so far and are looking to push him. But I have heard nothing to suggest that is the case and assume Coach Del Rio is simply intrigued by versatile players and therefore wanted to bring in another defensive gadget player for a look.
Lewis seems to be in the same mold as young veterans like Danny Johnson and Greg Stroman. But he does have a bit more NFL experience and was no doubt seen as having more upside than the departed Maurice Smith.
Lewis has the size and speed of a quality NFL corner, though he has never parlayed that into consistent success. He also has excellent pedigree, coming from a family that includes NFL players and executives such as Will and Tim Lewis, and Louis Riddick.
That, of course, means nothing. But his sub-4.4 speed will put him in contention.
I don’t think Lewis’ arrival says anything about how the current crop of DBs is viewed. I think he was just seen as better than Smith, and given the injuries that plagued this group last year, you can never have enough DBs.