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INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts have always had an affinity for Tyquan Lewis.

In four drafts leading the Colts, Chris Ballard has only traded up for a player on 3 occasions.

Lewis is one of those players, with the Colts moving up three spots to take him with the final pick of Round Two in the 2018 NFL Draft.

But after two seasons, with some injury problems thrown in there, Lewis wasn’t living up to what Ballard thought of him back in 2018.

“I need to see more,” Ballard said of Lewis at the end of the 2019 season. “I had a long talk with Tyquan yesterday. (In 2018), he missed, really, all of training camp and the first eight games with the (foot) injury, and then comes back and plays pretty good at the end for us. And then (in 2019), gets hurt again, and the one position we’ve got a lot of depth in, we’ve got a lot of guys at defensive end, and then at defensive tackle we had some guys in there playing, and he was at a point where he wasn’t even active because he was coming off the injury.

“What I told Tyquan was, (2020) is a big year for him. We’re going to expect him to come in and really show what we think his talent level is. Where we end up playing him, we see him as a guy who can play both at end and inside, and he’s got to be able to give that to us.”

Well, so far, it sounds pretty good on how Lewis has played during the 2020 camp.

“He is literally showing up every day, very often,” Frank Reich said of Lewis this week. “Tyquan’s on the right track and that is good for him and good for all of us, really good for the defensive line.

“Tyquan being relatively quiet the last two years – just the way he’s looked, if he keeps up at this pace that is going to be a big-time plus for us.”

At 6-3 and 277 pounds, Lewis is playing mostly in the interior for the Colts defensive line this camp, which was always thought to be his best position in Matt Eberflus’ defense.

The Colts love the quick first step from Lewis, as he looks like a guy who will definitely make the team and be a rotational player up front.

When asked why things haven’t clicked so far for him, Lewis says strides were needed for him both physically and mentally.

“I’d definitely say this is the best I’ve felt physically,” the Ohio State product says heading into Year Three. “This offseason gave me a lot of time to reflect on my body and just doing the right things, eating right, coming out here – just changing the way I think and everything.

“The last two years dealing with injuries and a lot of things mentally, it has a huge impact on your thought process and the way you think and just your interactions with a lot of things. Like I said, this offseason I didn’t just work on my body. I worked on a lot of things – mentally as well. I would write quotes down for myself. I would write down my thoughts – just thinking of the ways I could improve myself as a person as well as a football player. That was the biggest thing – working on myself as a human, becoming better as a human player.”

In Eberflus’ time in the NFL, seeing a couple of years pass before a defensive lineman truly makes his presence felt is not a surprise.

That happened last year with 2017 draft pick Grover Stewart.

Eberflus is seeing a similar sort of camp for Lewis, like the Colts got from Stewart in 2019.

“Some guys do it faster, but usually that’s about when they start to figure out who they are,” the veteran coach says.

I just think it’s a hard position to be able to learn how to rush up here and be able to learn how to play the position. There are so many fundamentals and techniques it takes to play it right. I think you have to learn your body and what you can do well against the guys up here. I think a lot of times defensive linemen in college, they just overpower people a lot of times. Up here man, those offensive linemen are great athletes and they’ve got great anchor and balance. It takes you a while to figure out what gets around them to get to the quarterback, and how do I play with leverage in the running game? I think that’s why it is a little bit delayed sometimes for a defensive lineman.”

In a camp where Lewis entered with some people thinking this might be his last shot, he is doing the necessary things to keep hope alive that he will continue to have an important future in Indianapolis.