FRISCO, Texas – The Cowboys found themselves a valued cornerback on Friday night – but a cornerback that comes with immediate questions about off-field concerns.
Michigan standout Jourdan Lewis was the 92nd overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, giving the Cowboys a second-straight cornerback to help revamp their secondary with. That's all well and good on the football front, but the questions arise from an alleged domestic incident back in March.
Lewis is facing a misdemeanor charge of domestic violence stemming from a March 15 incident with his girlfriend. He is scheduled for a 15th District Court jury trial, set to begin July 24.
In the minutes after selecting Lewis, Cowboys officials were questioned about the incident. Team owner/general manager Jerry Jones said it was an issue the Cowboys did enough work on to feel comfortable drafting him.
"We had thoroughly looked at his situation. We had done that much earlier," Jones said. "One of his particular, greatest attributes and assets was his outstanding off-the-field character throughout his life. On top of that, he has great football character, as well. So we were satisfied that we'd be OK there."
Lewis, who was named the Big Ten Conference Defensive Back of the Year in 2016, was even more adamant when asked about his legal issues.
"Like I told everybody else, I completely think that all charges will be dropped and I think I will be exonerated from everything," he said. "I'm completely innocent. I believe that wholeheartedly. And I'm just going to have to see what happens in my next trial date."
It's interesting to note that the July 24 trial date is scheduled after the Cowboys have already begun training camp. But when he was asked if he thought the trial would interfere with his availability for camp, Lewis insisted it would not.
"I don't think it will at all. I think it'll be squashed, right then and there – that first trial date," he said. "I'm just looking forward to getting into training camp."
That confidence was a unifying theme on a night where the Cowboys potentially added two big pieces to their defense. Cowboys coach Jason Garrett, asked about his comfort level with the pick, echoed the sentiments of both Jones and his newest player – justifying all the confidence necessary to add Lewis to the roster.
"Our guys did a tremendous job researching this situation and doing their due diligence. What came from it was that we feel really strongly about this player, not only as a player, but as a person," Garrett said. "Greg Jackson, our secondary coach, was on the staff at Michigan, and he knows him well. We know the coaches up their well. All the due diligence we did made us feel very comfortable in this situation."