Terrell Lewis of Alabama has a terrific name to be a Ravens defensive player.
He is very familiar with the history of Terrell Suggs and Ray Lewis, and he also knows the Ravens' long-time attraction to Alabama players. When Lewis was told that he already sounds like a Raven, the talented outside linebacker broke into a huge grin.
"I mean, I've been watching the Ravens since I was young growing up in the (Washington) D.C. area," Lewis said at the NFL Scouting Combine. "Obviously, I've looked up to guys like Terrell Suggs and Ray Lewis. Then on top of that, just knowing how many 'Bama guys we have at the Ravens, knowing Ozzie Newsome. I won an award at 'Bama in honor of his name, so that's cool too. It sounds like a storyline type of deal, but at the same time, I know how the Ravens run defense. We do a lot of things similar to the Ravens as far as our scheme, and the way we run stunts and pressures and things like that. I definitely can see myself fitting in there."
Perhaps the Ravens see Lewis as a fit, too, maybe not with their first-round pick but as a second-round option on Day 2. They are looking for edge rushers and ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper ranks Lewis as the fourth-best outside linebacker behind Isaiah Simmons of Clemson, K'Lavon Chaisson of LSU and Zack Baun of Wisconsin.
Lewis had a strong showing during Senior Bowl week, displaying his ability to shed blockers in one-on-one drills.
However, the biggest concern is his injury history. Lewis missed almost the entire 2017 season after dislocating his elbow in the first game. Then he missed the 2018 season after suffering a torn ACL during summer workouts.
Lewis finally got onto the field last year and produced 6 ½ sacks and 11 ½ tackles for loss, showing his ability to be a disruptive force on defense. During a 48-7 win over Arkansas, Lewis was the dominant defensive player with six quarterback hurries.
"I was in the zone," Lewis said. "I was on a rampage around that time. I had two sacks against Texas A&M, and I still feel like I should have had more. Tennessee, I think I had like seven tackles, two sacks. "I liked the Arkansas game so much because it wasn't a stat sheet game. If you watch the game, you can see how much I impacted, how I disrupted the game to the point where it led to turnovers, it led to pick-sixes. You can tell the quarterback knew where I was." At 6-foot-5, 250 pounds, he has obvious talent with enormous room for growth. However, the Ravens' most recent pass rusher from Alabama, outside linebacker Tim Williams, never reached his potential after being a third-round pick in 2017. Williams was released last season, but Lewis says that shouldn't impact what the Ravens think about him. He believes his versatility would be an asset to Baltimore's defense.
"I feel like I'm comfortable in any scheme," Lewis said. "I feel like Alabama prepared me as far as being able to play the run, set the edge as an edge defender, play the nose, play three-tech, play stack linebacker. You feel comfortable playing in any role." Lewis hopes that staying healthy last season will alleviate concern about his past injuries. He also showed perseverance by overcoming those setbacks to reclaim a starting role at Alabama where the competition for playing time is intense. When he wasn't healthy enough to play, Lewis said he never lost his passion for the game.
"I always liked the physicality part of football," Lewis said. "I feel like it's my happy place. Not trying to sound crazy, but you get to be violent with no consequence. That's why I always played defense. It takes you away from anything you may be going through off the field. You can have your peace, be with your teammates. You build so many relationships playing football to where it lasts a lifetime." With his NFL future about to begin, Lewis is thankful to be at the Combine being mentioned again as a top prospect. He plans to reward the team that drafts him. "Through all the adversity I faced throughout my college career, to still be able to make it to a place like this?" Lewis said. "That was the goal from the beginning."