Opening day countdowns are great. So are player profiles. Here at Musket Fire, we decided to combine them and create a Week 1 countdown-oriented, jersey number-dictated player profile series. A few days ago we looked at No. 35 Jonas Gray, and the day before that it was No. 36 Tyler Gaffney. Because today marks 33 days until the New England Patriots open 2015, we are profiling No. 33, running back Dion Lewis.
Selected by the Philadelphia Eagles in the fifth round of the 2011 NFL Draft, Lewis is playing for his fourth team after stints with the Cleveland Browns and Indianapolis Colts. He has recorded carries only with the Eagles, amassing 171 yards and two scores on 36 attempts in 2011 and 2012.
At just 5-foot-8 and 190 pounds, Lewis is one of the smallest players on the Patriots roster. However, he can bust out some serious moves in the open field. Here’s a highlight from the 2011 preseason (since we’re currently in preseason, I think it’s acceptable to analyze a past preseason performance…).
It’s that shaky, slippery style of running that just might land Lewis on the 53-man roster eight months after the Patriots signed him. He’s contending with Travaris Cadet, James White and Tyler Gaffney for the precious few spots (possibly just one spot) behind Brandon Bolden, Jonas Gray and LeGarrette Blount in the Pats’ backfield.
Speaking of Blount, the biggest news out of training camp yesterday was his departure from practice after suffering an apparent knee injury. If it’s anything very serious, the Patriots will definitely bring another running back into the fold, which could bode well for Lewis.
Even if Blount is alright, he’ll miss Week 1 due to suspension so that could mean Lewis gets elevated to the 53-man game day roster anyway. The Patriots are keen on the Pitt product, so he could very well see his first NFL carry in three years this fall.
However, Lewis must deal with some injury issues of his own. He’s been out of practice since Wednesday.
For more reading on Lewis, see what the Boston Globe’s Jim McBride had to say about the heated training camp battle between Lewis and Cadet.
In case you missed them, here are the profiles for No. 37 Jordan Richards, No. 38 Brandon Bolden, No. 39 Travaris Cadet, No. 41 Dekoda Watson, No. 42 Xzavier Dickson, No. 43 Nate Ebner, No. 44 Matthew Wells, No. 45 D.J. Lynch, No. 46 james Develin, No. 47 Michael Hoomanawanui, No. 48 Geneo Grissom, No. 49 Joe Cardona, No. 50 Rob Ninkovich, No. 51 Jerod Mayo, No. 52 Dane Fletcher, No. 53 Eric Martin, No. 54 Dont’a Hightower, No. 55 Jonathan Freeny, No. 58 Darius Fleming, and No. 59 Chris White.