Although things didn’t work out for him with the Arizona Cardinals, another NFL team is giving former Air Force cornerback Zane Lewis a chance in the pros.
Lewis was claimed off waivers by the New York Jets on Monday.
The move by the Jets reunites Lewis, a 2020 Air Force Academy graduate, with Chip Vaughn, who coached the Air Force secondary 2018-2019 before joining Adam Gase’s staff as an assistant defensive backs coach this off-season.
Lewis was a two-year starter for the Falcons at corner and quickly established himself as one of the top defensive backs in the Mountain West. As a junior, he tallied 43 total tackles, five tackles for loss, an interception, a forced fumble and a team-best six pass break-ups. As a senior, he was third in the Mountain West with 15 pass break-ups to go along with 45 total tackles. He notched two pick-sixes in his career, both of which stretched about 99 yards.
Air Force finished 11-2 last season in Lewis’ final campaign and ranked No. 22 in the final AP Top 25 Poll.
Checking in at about 6-foot-1 and 195 pounds, Lewis caught the attention of scouts at Air Force’s pro day when he ran a 4.45 40-yard dash.
Lewis wasn’t selected in the 2020 NFL Draft, but reportedly had as many as four offers to sign as an undrafted free agent. He ultimately chose the Cardinals, who — according to multiple reports — gave him a guaranteed $20,000 bonus after signing him as a priority free agent. The Cardinals waived Lewis on Sunday.
A Richmond, Virginia native, Lewis’ cousin is former NFL Pro Bowl defensive back Shawn Springs.
If Lewis makes the Jets’ roster, he could find himself covering former Navy quarterback Malcolm Perry when the Jets face the Dolphins in AFC East play.
The Jets went 7-9 last season and had the league’s 17th-best pass defense.
*SB Nation’s Gang Green Nation has more on the Jets signing Lewis.