As the Jets get close to training camp, I am examining the roster and giving you my top 25 players. Each weekday, we will reveal another person on the list, leading right into camp. I am not including rookies on this list because I do not feel it is possible to fully evaluate them before they play a game.
No. 17: Alex Lewis
Last year’s ranking: Unranked (not on team)
Age on Opening Day: 28
How acquired: Traded by the Ravens for a seventh-round pick on Aug. 5, 2019
Years left on contract: 3
2020 Salary Cap figure: $4.3 million
Looking back at 2019
The Jets traded for Lewis during training camp, getting him from the Ravens for a seventh-round pick. It looked like a depth move at the time, but Lewis became a key starter for the Jets.
He replaced Kelechi Osemele as the starting left guard in the Jets’ fourth game of the season. Lewis went on to start the next 12 games, missing the season finale with an ankle injury.
Lewis injected toughness into the line and was part of a group that got better as the season went along. He played much better than Osemele, who was a higher profile pickup. Lewis played 75 percent of the offensive snaps. He allowed two sacks and 22 pressures, per PFF.
Lewis did have four holding penalties, which always seemed to wipe out big plays for the Jets.
PFF graded Lewis the 60th best guard out of 82 and 65th in run blocking out of 76.
Outlook for 2020
Lewis might be the only starter on the offensive line from last year who starts this year. The team re-signed him to a three-year, $18.6 million deal in March, bringing him back despite overhauling the rest of the offensive line.
The Jets view Lewis as a team leader and someone who brings attitude and toughness to the offensive line. Lewis has versatility to move around the line, too. He worked at four different offensive line positions during practice last season.
Lewis will play a critical role in bringing his new linemates up to speed. It is his second year in Adam Gase’s offense, so he will be asked to act like a coach in some regards with the new additions. Rookie Mekhi Becton is expected to line up next to Lewis on the left side, meaning he will have to mentor the first-round pick and help him with in-game adjustments.