Josey Jewell, LB
School: Iowa | Conference: BIG 10
College Experience: rSr | Age: 23
Height / Weight: 6-2 / 236 lbs
Projected Draft Status: 3rd Round or 4th Round
NFL Comparison: Paul Posluszny
Josey Jewell only got two offers to play college football out of high school. One was from the University of Northern Iowa and the other from the University of Iowa. Jewell chose the latter to play football and subsequently became one of the most productive linebackers in this draft class. Based on his resume if Jewell had played 15 years earlier he may have been in the conversation as a first round or second round draft pick. Jewell’s motor, effort, and football IQ are off the charts. His instincts and anticipation are some of the best in the class and his tackling technique and reliability are top notch. His effectiveness in zone coverage is pleasantly surprising as well. Perhaps unfortunately for Jewell, he is entering an NFL where the responsibilities of an inside linebacker have been greatly expanded. Unless a miracle happens Jewell will not be one of the top testers at the combine and he will likely get low marks based on his athleticism, speed, and fluidity. Athleticism alone today in the NFL for the middle linebacker position seems to be weighed almost equally with all the other skills and traits needed. Because of that the team that drafts him won't be getting an elite athletic linebacker but they will be getting an above average starter that could go on to play for many years.
- Instincts and anticipation are excellent. Initial diagnosis of plays are overwhelmingly right and read and react ability is quick.
- Competes on every play and doesn't care who he is up against or what’s in front of him he will make effort to fight through until the whistle.
- Aggressive gap attacker with so much production behind, at, or just beyond the LOS.
- Understands space and angles and generally does well in pursuit. For a player that lacks top-end athleticism, he is surprisingly active in zone coverage and performs well from there against the pass and has enough pass defended numbers to rival a lot of corners.
- Tackling technique and reliability are excellent.
- Just average athleticism for the position. Doesn't have the speed to stick in man coverage against athletic TEs or slot WRs. And can be a half step late when closing on opponents. Tight hips prevent fluid change of direction skills.
- Can get overwhelmed when taking on large interior blockers. Will need to improve his ability to get free of them.
- Some may be concerned with his size playing inside (I’m not personally).
Let’s see his work:
Josey Jewell is one of those guys that I don't expect to test overly well at the combine, but could go on to play 10+ year career. Very instinctive, leader, instant contributor on special teams, at worst he'll be a depth piece for a team.— J.R. (@JReidDraftScout) February 10, 2018
I struggled with him. Doesn't beat blocks. Doesn't have the quickness or agility to play in man coverage.— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) January 17, 2018
But Jewell makes about every single tackle.
I put a 4-5 round grade on him. https://t.co/WI3C5tjdg2
Josey Jewell just obliterated Purdue’s Terry Wright.— Dustin Schutte (@SchutteCFB) November 18, 2017
Damn. #Hawkeyes pic.twitter.com/i7qnuUNLu3
How He Would Fit On The Redskins
The argument against Jewell on the Redskins will no doubt be that the team already has a linebacker who is athletically similar and plays with a good deal of smarts and heart in Mason Foster. My argument for Jewell to be a Redskin is that he is better than Foster in just about every other aspect. Working on the assumption that Zach Brown will be resigned Jewell would be an upgrade at the other ILB spot because his read and react ability is so strong, his instincts are true and he is rarely fooled by trickery, he attacks his gaps and assignments, and he is a reliable tackler all which likely make him a better run defender. He is also likely already better as a zone coverage defender. It's also worth noting that Mason Foster's new contract only keeps him on the team through 2019 so the team ought to make a longer-term investment in the position sometime soon. Jewell is also active with his hands and as already mentioned may not be as bad in coverage as one thinks at long as he’s playing a zone. His 26 career passes defended not only ended in busted plays for the offense but for turnovers for the defense. He also has 6 career interceptions so he can help take the ball away too. Jewell doesn't play with a lot of flair but he is a football player and through his skill and effort will find a way to remain a consistent player a team can build around on defense for many years.