In the 2020 NFL Draft, the Los Angeles Rams drafted one of the more talented players available in the third round. That player was edge rusher Terrell Lewis. Lewis missed the majority of his college career with injuries which included a torn ACL. However, when he was on the field, the Alabama edge rusher was constantly making plays.
For a third round draft pick, it was potentially worth the risk. However, after what the Rams went through with Todd Gurley’s knee, it is curious that they decided to do it all over again with Lewis.
Lewis missed the first four games of his rookie season after the Alabama edge rusher had surgery in order to clean up a potential infection from a previous knee surgery. McVay called Lewis’ knee problem “something we’ve never experienced before.
Terrell Lewis’ Rookie Eason
When Lewis finally did get on the field for the Los Angeles Rams, his impact was felt. The rookie recorded his first two career sacks in the team’s 23-16 win over the Seattle Seahawks. That was the lone game in which Lewis played more than 25 snaps. Throughout the season, he played just 12% of snaps on defense.
After being active for six consecutive games, Lewis was inactive in Week 11-14. The rookie played in Weeks 16, 17 and the wild card game against the Seahawks before missing the Divisional Round against Green Bay. In minimal snaps, Lewis had an impressive 11 pressures and seven quarterback hurries. His 74.2 run defense grade via Pro Football Focus also ranked 18th and was second behind only Chase Young among rookies.
Despite showing flashes, Lewis just never seemed to be able to find rhythm. Every time he did, he would miss time due to his knee that was an issue pre-draft and throughout his college career.
While Terrell Lewis was worth the risk as a first round talent in the third round, it’s worth noting that Alex Highsmith was selected 18 picks later. Highsmith had a good pre-draft process and also had two sacks during his rookie season. Highsmith doesn’t have the injury baggage either.
Lewis struggled with his knee throughout his rookie season. Therefore, heading into year two, the Rams have done a lot to try and manage Lewis’ knee. Lewis has been doing a lot of rehab work in training camp and OTA’s. The Rams are doing what they can at this point to manage Lewis’ knee.
Managing Terrell Lewis’ Knee
However, even with managing it, Lewis is once again having issues. Sean McVay said earlier this week after the second year player missed practice, “Terrell’s knee is kind of acting up again. So, we’re going to see what that looks like as we move forward.”
The question now becomes how much time and patience do the Los Angeles Rams give Lewis? There’s no doubt that the team could use a talented edge rusher on the opposite side of Leonard Floyd. At the same time, Lewis hasn’t been able to remain healthy and available.
The Rams have done a lot this offseason to help manage Lewis and keep him healthy. Even then, his knee has been acting up. With roster cuts coming up, there’s a good chance that Lewis at the very least ends up on short-term IR in order to create a roster spot for another player.
What is Terrell Lewis’ Future?
Nobody is doubting Lewis’ talent. However, the best ability is sometimes availability. The fact of the matter is, Lewis has not been available. The Rams can be patient, but they can only be patient for so long before they have to give other players opportunity.
2021 is a big year for Lewis and his future with the team. By already having knee issues while the team has been managing it, that doesn’t bode well for his future.