by Chris Warner, Patriots Daily Staff
NFL coaches want their defenders to have size, speed and intelligence. They can tell that cornerback Myron Lewis has the first quality just by looking at him. The 6-foot-2 Vanderbilt product showcased the other two attributes at the combine and in college. Now, he’s hoping he’s impressed those same NFL coaches enough to call his name early in the draft.
In the following interview, Lewis talked to PD about athletics, academics, and the type of music that helps him study.
I wanted to open up by talking about the combine. How do you think your performance was?
Overall, I feel I did pretty good. I ran real well on my 40. Doing the position drills I felt really confident, and doing everything out there, everything felt good.
Talk about the weekend a little bit. Were there any surprises, or do you think you were prepared for the pace of the whole thing?
I think I was well-prepared, but the one thing – the only thing – that was a surprise was just waking up early every day, and you better get your sleep.
How did the interviews go? What teams did you talk to?
I talked to pretty much every team, but as far as private meetings, I talked to the Bucs, the Panthers, the Bears, the Chiefs, the 49ers, and the Steelers.
You’re 6-2. Do some people think that’s a little big to play corner? There’s been a little bit of talk about you maybe switching to safety. How do you feel about that?
I don’t really think that’s a (concern), me being a little too big to play corner. Nowadays, you’ve got 6-5 receivers, 6-6 and whatnot, and you need tall people to match up with them.
In terms of your performance in the drills (at the combine)… do you think you’ll participate in Vandy’s pro day?
I was satisfied with my performance, but you know, you can always do better. I was feeling – I was pretty nervous and excited at the same time. But I left everything in God’s hands, and He led the way for me.
What made you decide on Vanderbilt, coming out of Florida?
Just the academics, and trying to play in the best conference. You know, my parents were big on academics, I was big on academics, and that was the best fit.
In terms of academics – maybe because of the requirements – Vanderbilt doesn’t always match up well against other SEC teams. What’s it like to be a team that maybe is good on a national level but doesn’t always do so well in the SEC?
Oh, I wouldn’t say we don’t match up well. You know, we can match up with any team. It’s just all about going out there and executing as a team. And sometimes we execute, and sometimes we don’t.
Yeah, it seems like Vanderbilt always has players that go into the NFL, but they may not do so well every week. Do you feel like, when you go up against a team like Florida or Alabama, that you guys have a good shot?
Oh, yeah. Their athletes put on their pads the same way I put on my pads, and we just go out there and battle.
How would you describe the defense at Vanderbilt?
We’re like sharks. When we’re all, “It’s us against the ball,” and everybody’s playing defense, we’re all in. Our defense was fierce.
What do you think you’d have to pick up in terms of transitioning to an NFL-style defense?
Just learning their system. Whatever team picks me, I’ll just be able to go in there and learn their system. You know, I feel I’m a smart football player, and whatever system I fall into, I’ll be able to study the defensive playbook as well as I can to be able to go out there and help the defense.
Did any teams talk to you about making a switch from cornerback to safety? Or, did they talk about different aspects of their defenses?
All the teams that I talked to, they made me specifically talk about corner, and talk about defensive plays that I ran at Vanderbilt. And they just, you know, they sat me down and they wanted to know if I understood playing football, and defense.
What were some other schools that you had to choose from coming out of high school?
I had fifteen offers. I had Florida South, Florida State, (Florida Atlantic), (Florida International), Iowa, Iowa State, Duke, Colorado, Michigan State. Those are just a few.
And at your high school, you did a little bit of everything on your team, didn’t you?
Oh, yeah. I played tight end, played receiver, played cornerback. I was the punter, I kicked off. I did a little of everything.
How did you end up being the punter?
One day, it was after practice, and I was just playing around with some teammates, and I was kicking the ball. And then the coach was like, “You’re going to be the punter for the team.”
And you also played basketball, didn’t you?
Oh, yeah. I averaged a double-double in basketball. I had some very successful seasons playing basketball throughout my years of high school.
What position did you play?
I played forward.
Do you think it’s an easy transition from basketball to football?
Yeah, I would say so. I would use my athletic ability, and I was out there playing to have fun.
Now, what was your major at Vanderbilt?
Human and Organizational Development.
What types of things did you study?
Basically, the major is a business HR major. That means organizational theories and learning about business skills and people skills.
And you got some academic awards, didn’t you?
Yeah, I was a Student-Athlete (of the Month), academic honor roll for Vanderbilt.
If you were recruiting somebody to go to Vanderbilt, how would you recruit (him)? What would you say?
Basically, I would tell them – coming out of high school – they’re getting their grades. That’s the first thing. And, you know, be a humble person. You’ve got to pace yourself, and don’t be around out partying or drinking. And just go out there, and whatever sport they’re playing, just have fun. You know, just do what you do best, and everything will follow through God’s hands.
Yeah, to balance your studies and football, it seems like you had a pretty rigorous schedule for yourself. Did you figure that out right away, or did it take some time in college to line that up?
I basically figured it out right away. I knew that I wanted to. I studied a certain amount of hours. I made sure I was in the right classes so I could stay on pace to graduate.
Speaking of studying, tell me what kind of effect Barry Manilow has on you.
Oh, Barry Manilow? (Laughs.) Oh, man, you know, I listen to music to keep me focused more on studying.
And that helps you focus as you study?
Yeah. I just listen to music.
(Laughs.) I’m impressed that you know who he is.
Well, Myron, I just wanted to say thanks for talking to us tonight. What are you going to be up to until the draft?
Right now, I’m back in Nashville. I’m staying for my pro day. I’m just getting ready for pro day on March 19, (staying available) so if any teams call me in for private workouts, or if they want to come visit.
I’m sorry, was it March 19?
Okay. Myron, thank you very much for talking today, and I wish you a lot of luck.
Thank you, no problem.
Email Chris Warner at [email protected].