New England Patriots: 3 Players to Watch in Preseason Week 3 vs. Panthers

Who to look out for as the New England Patriots take on the Carolina Panthers

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

CB Ryan Lewis ― No. 27

Ryan Lewis is one of many Patriot players fighting for the team’s final cornerback spot.

He played 40 snaps (67 percent) on defense in Week 1 of the preseason but didn’t play in last week’s matchup with Philadelphia. On Friday, he’ll have an opportunity to solidify his spot on the 53-man roster.

As of preseason Week 3, five cornerbacks can be considered locks (or near-locks) to make the team: Stephon Gilmore, Eric Rowe, Jonathan Jones, Jason McCourty, and rookie Duke Dawson. After them, it’s a little more blurry.

Rookies J.C. Jackson and Keion Crossen have seen sufficient playing time in the preseason, although, neither has shown enough to say they’re worth a roster spot. Former second-round pick Cyrus Jones does possess extra value as a returner on special teams, however, he hasn’t played in the preseason. Then, there’s Lewis.

He played well in coverage against Washington and turned heads with a bone-crushing hit on Redskins wide receiver Trey Quinn. He was caught celebrating rather than blocking on a would-be touchdown return later in the game, a mistake he’ll be sure to never make again.

Lewis will need to have a solid performance against the Panthers to ensure he makes the roster. New England loves to deploy multiple defensive backs on defense and they must have depth in order to do so. Assuming he’s healthy and ready to play, Lewis should see plenty of snaps in Friday’s contest.

Next: OT Cole Croston