Adam Zimmer knows a thing or two about assessing linebackers. After all, he’s coached the Minnesota Vikings heralded unit for the last five seasons. This week, Zimmer took on head coaching duties for the West squad in the East-West Shrine Game from St. Petersburg, Florida. Among the players that caught Zimmer’s eye was former Colorado Buffaloes linebacker Drew Lewis. “We’ve got to clean up some of his technique and fundamentals, but he’s got tools,” Zimmer told NFL.com writer Chase Goodbread Wednesday.
Lewis also made an impression on Bleacher Report’s lead NFL Draft analyst Matt Miller, who named Lewis among his “biggest winners” from NFLPA Bowl and Shrine Game weeks. “The NFL is trending toward faster, more versatile players all across the field, which means linebackers must adapt.” Miller wrote. “Teams that are looking to add a three-down linebacker who can do all those things must consider Colorado’s Drew Lewis after a good week at Shrine practices.”
As a junior in 2017, Lewis led the Buffaloes with 119 tackles playing out of the middle linebacker position. Last season, the former Coffeyville Community College (Kan.) product moved to outside linebacker to make room for Nate Landman. He finished with 66 total tackles, two sacks and four pass break-ups. Beyond the stats, there are a couple of things Lewis has going for him. For one, he’s an athletic freak.
The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman listed Lewis among his top freaks, workout warriors in college football the last two seasons. He was also named by Goodbread as one of college football’s most freakish athletes last June. In addition to his athletic ability, Lewis also has quite the pedigree. His older brother Ryan is a cornerback for the Buffalo Bills, while his father, Will, and uncle, Tim, each played in the NFL. He is also cousins with former NFL defensive-back and current ESPN analyst Louis Riddick.
With the East-West Shrine game in the books, Lewis will now turn his attention to the next step in the interview process, next month’s NFL Scouting Combine. “I do feel like I’ll have a little advantage with my testing numbers,” he told Goodbread. “The main thing is to stay healthy for the combine. I’m trying to do a good job of stretching every day.” Like Shrine Game week, Lewis should attract plenty more attention from NFL scouts should he put up the eye-popping numbers he’s capable of in Indianapolis.