Here's going to be a different set of criteria. I'm going to throw out a prediction right now and say that the majority of votes will be on the negative side, even when I give some pretty balanced criteria. Michael Lewis is strange in that, nobody here really considers him "pretty good". It's either people who severely overrate him and people who severely underrate him. He either is too old, too frail and awful or he's fantastic, great, and the like.
That isn't to say I'm in any position to tell you what to think, or to disagree at all - so I won't! I'm supposed to be unbiased in writing these posts (though I feel I've made my position known on many of them in the past, those attentive may know my position). Let's get to the nitty gritty shall we?
Nobody can say that Michael Lewis hasn't at least been a passable starter in his tenure with the 49ers. He came here without many expectations and I'd think it's fair to say that he exceeded the level of play that most of us would have projected for him. Stop me if I'm on the thin-ice part of being unbiased.
What he brings to the table is above-average ability to shut down the run and stop a play before it goes for positive yardage. He's not slow, but he's not a guy who's going to keep up with the Ted Ginns of the world. Fortunately for us, he rarely has to - his coverage duties usually consist of running backs and tight ends. He covers them fairly well, aside from being abused by Packers' tight end Jermichael Finley last season. He does, however, come out in some nickel situations (though I have seen him a good portion of the time kicked inside to a linebacker position).
One of his biggest knocks is the fact that he has suffered multiple concussions. Last year we saw one of the most reliable players over the years for the 49ers - Jeff Ulbrich - suffer a career-ending concussion. It's true that Lewis only missed one game last year due to the injury, but it was his second in a short amount of time. One more and he could be out. Still, I think a lot of people have high hopes for Taylor Mays, his backup.
His 2009 was still pretty solid. Nothing eye-opening, but certainly a passable starter. He got a pick, two forced fumbles, two pass deflections, a sack and was in on 82 tackles. Make the jump for your voting criteria.
Very High: Michael Lewis has been a pro bowl player before. You really can't discount that it's possible when it comes to something like that happening again - but that doesn't necessarily mean it's likely. A very high vote for Lewis doesn't really mean you think he's pro bowl bound, but it's clear very quickly that he is the guy best suited for the starting SS job. Taylor Mays is quietly developed and makes his living on special teams and in special situations. 4+ INT
High: He's a starter. A good one. At this point a "high" rating is for Lewis to continue his slightly above-average play since so many people seem to be down on him. He plays a bit better than in previous years, and none of the Taylor Mays fans are really upset that he didn't get his chance.
Medium: Plays around the same level of play he has been, but looks slower. Maybe he gets a lingering injury. Or maybe Taylor Mays just shows that he's clearly superior in many ways. Lewis bites hard on play action, is beaten in coverage a few times. He's still starting caliber, but only just.
Low: We should have cut ties with him when we had the chance. His salary figure was definitely too high, and he just looks older. He gets hurt. Taylor Mays slowly but surely cuts into his playing time. His game of being one dimensional, but at least partially proficient in other dimensions no longer holds water, as all he can do is stop the run.
Very Low: [insert really awful strong safety here, on the same level of Mark Roman at the FS position]