Literally minutes after the Detroit Lions announced they had signed cornerback Brandon McGee, a report emerged detailing the Lions’ interest in another cornerback. According to ESPN’s Josina Anderson, the Lions have made “preliminary inquiries” on former New Orleans Saints cornerback Keenan Lewis. Anderson lists the Jets, Cardinals and an unnamed NFC South team as other programs interested in the cornerback.
Lewis was released from the Saints last Friday, after being mysteriously absent from training camp since being removed from the PUP list a few weeks ago. Lewis had an injury plagued 2015 and ended up having surgery on his knee, hip and for a sports hernia.
However, before injuries, Lewis was an excellent cornerback. Lewis began his career with the Pittsburgh Steelers, as a late third-round pick in 2009. His rookie year, he ranked 27th out of 110 cornerbacks according to Pro Football Focus. Though the Steelers eventually cut ties with Lewis, they are actually considering bringing him back:
Former Saints CB Keenan Lewis is going to Pittsburgh tonight for a visit with the Steelers, per source. Has interest from at least 6 teams.— Josh Katzenstein (@jkatzenstein) August 23, 2016
After joining the Saints as their No. 1 cornerback, Lewis enjoyed early success. His 2013 season was again excellent (ranked 27th again by PFF), but as the team’s defense plummeted to disastrous lows in 2014, so did his play. Lewis ranked just 92nd by PFF in his second year with the Saints. His final year in New Orleans was marred by injuries, only playing in six games and starting none.
Lewis appears ready for a fresh start. The veteran cornerback said he never really meshed with the Saints’ current defensive coordinator Dennis Allen, after he took over for Rob Ryan this offseason.
Detroit’s interest in Lewis may mean the Lions are not completely happy with their depth in the secondary. While it appears the Lions have their starters set in Darius Slay, Nevin Lawson and Quandre Diggs, the depth beyond them is still unknown. Lewis could provide decent depth or even make a play for the Lions’ No. 2 cornerback position, considering Lawson is still a bit young and unproven at this point in his career.