Blogging The Boys will take a look at some of the NFL Draft prospects that will be in the 2018 NFL Draft class. Some weeks, we will look at potential targets that will be within the Cowboys’ expected draft range. Others, we will highlight some of the elite members of the class.
The Combine is done and over with, so mock draft season is in full swing. Whether it is a respected draft analyst or a die-hard fan, everybody has an opinion on what their team should do come April.
What does seem to be a consensus among most draft analysts is that the Cowboys have some important positions to address this spring: defensive line, offensive guard, wide receiver, and linebacker. We have covered a plethora of wideouts here at BTB, as well as defensive tackles such as Da’ron Payne and Vita Vea.
The two blue-chip linebackers in this draft are Georgia Bulldogs linebacker Roquan Smith and Virginia Tech Hokies freak of nature Tremaine Edmunds. Both are expected to be off the board before Dallas comes on the clock at pick 19, so where does that leave the Cowboys?
Here is a possible day two option that could potentially play a big role in his rookie season on the NFL level.
Josey Jewell — linebacker, Iowa Hawkeyes
Josey Jewell has never been known to be the most athletic or the freakish linebacker in the world, but the Iowa native has developed into a solid NFL prospect and could be a consideration late on day two in the 2018 NFL Draft.
Jewell never had the hype like other prospects. The Iowa native was rated as just a two-star recruit coming out of high school in the 2013 signing class. In fact, Jewell only had two scholarship offers: Iowa and Northern Iowa. Needless to say, no one envisioned Jewell developing into one of the best defensive players in the Big Ten.
But the linebacker immediately made an impact as soon as he stepped foot on campus in Iowa City. As a matter of fact, Jewell was awarded the Team Leader Award, Defense during his initial season in which he redshirted, according to his Iowa bio.
As soon as the redshirt freshman stepped on the playing field in 2014, he became an impact player for the Hawkeyes. Jewell played in ten games, totaling 51 total tackles and one sack. Jewell’s best game during his first season on the field came in the Hawkeyes’ bowl game against the Tennessee Volunteers — 14 total tackles (seven solo) and Iowa’s MVP for the season finale. It was just the beginning of a solid career.
In 2015, Jewell showed the country how good he can be. Named as team captain for the Hawkeyes, Jewell was the heart and soul of one of the more respected defenses across college football. The linebacker recorded 126 total tackles (62 solo), 7.5 tackles-for-loss, and three sacks to go along with a career-high four interceptions (one pick-six), six pass deflections, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery. Jewell was a big reason why Iowa reached the Rose Bowl for the first time since 1991. The redshirt-sophomore earned second team All Big Ten honors for his breakout season.
He continued to play like one of the better linebackers in college football. Jewell was once again named a team captain, and he made sure that his play on the field backed it up: 124 total tackles (58 solo), six TFLs, and 1.5 sacks. He also defended nine passes and forced another fumble. Jewell was named first team All-Big Ten and earned All-American honors for his junior campaign in 2016, while also being named one of five finalists for the Butkus Award (given to the best LB in college football).
Jewell perhaps saved his best for his last season on the collegiate level. The All-American linebacker recorded a career-high in career tackles (132), solo tackles (69), tackles-for-loss (13.5), and sacks (4.5). He also added two more interceptions, 11 passes defended, one more forced fumble, and one more fumble recovery. Jewell was first team All-Big Ten, Butkus-Fitzgerald Big Ten Linebacker of the Year, Nagurski-Woodson Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, and was named a consensus All-American. Not too shabby for a guy who only held two offers coming out of high school.
What do the experts say?
- Dane Brugler is regarded as one of the best in the industry when it comes to scouting NFL talent. In his most recent seven-round mock draft, he has the Cowboys taking the Iowa linebacker in the second-round. Here are his thoughts:
The answer for the Cowboys’ linebacker woes could be to replace one former Hawkeye with another. With Anthony Hitchens expected to sign elsewhere in free agency, Jewell would be a plug-and-play Mike linebacker, pushing Jaylon Smith at his more natural Sam and keeping Sean Lee at the Will. Lee was pick No. 55 overall in 2010, and Jewell could provide a similar impact for the next decade.
- Back in December, Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller had some pretty high thoughts on Jewell, calling him the “sleeper of the draft”.
5. NFL Draft Sleeper: Iowa LB Josey Jewell. I can’t believe that Jewell is a sleeper, but at this point, I’m heated that his name isn’t getting more attention. WATCH JOSEY JEWELL HIGHLIGHTS! Do whatever it takes to see this man. Jewell is a heat-seeking missile at linebacker and is constantly around the ball. All those hyperbolic cliches like “tackling machine” actually apply to Jewell. I’m calling my shot now and comparing him to Chris Borland.
- NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah asked different Big Ten players at the Senior Bowl about who was the best player that they faced. Jewell’s name was a constant theme.
Jeremiah told viewers that during the Senior Bowl, he polled players from around the Big Ten to see who they thought was the best player they played against. One name constantly popped up.
“Josey Jewell got more votes than anybody else,” Jeremiah said Sunday. “He’s got a lot of respect around that conference.”
Overall, Josey Jewell is a solid linebacker prospect that has the tools to come in and start, or at least play a lot of snaps, for a team during his rookie season. The All-American didn’t post the best numbers in Indianapolis — 4.82 40-yard dash, 4.27 20-yard shuttle, 11.52 60-yard shuttle — but he was consistently one of the best players on the field each and every Saturday throughout his four-season career for the Hawkeyes.
Brugler’s fourth best inside linebacker prospect does not posses eye-popping athleticism or sideline-to-sideline speed, but he makes up with hit a high football IQ and instincts. He is a football player in every sense of the meaning, and he is one of the tougher players in the draft.
Good eye. Jewell isn't the same type of athlete, but there is some Sean Lee to his game. His competitive make-up and instincts are outstanding. https://t.co/s3KX88DePp— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) January 8, 2018
If you ever listen to The Draft Show with Brugler, Bryan Broaddus, and David Helman, you know how much Brugler refers to the tape. Dane says to trust the tape over the combine numbers when it comes to Jewell. The linebacker was a multiple time All-Big Ten selection and All-American for a reason.
In addition to all of his on-the-field superlatives, Jewell was also well-respected by his teammates — voted as team captain, earning the Team Hustle Award, “Extra Heartbeat” Award, and Team Leader Award, among others, during his college career. That sounds like the kind of guy you want in your locker room, environment, and culture.
Josey Jewell appears to be a solid second- or third-round option for the Cowboys.
Josey Jewell Film/Thread— NFL Draft and 49ers (@JL_Chapman) March 3, 2018
LB Iowa 6’1” 235. Josey Jewell was an All-State high school player in football and baseball. He has insane production and averaged 127 tackles over a 3 year span for the Hawkeyes@49ersHive @FPC_NFL #JoseyJewell #Hawkeyes #NFLDraft pic.twitter.com/Pwbm8NMAhi
Josey Jewell LB is more than just a tackler though with 6 interceptions and 26 pass deflections in his career. Instincts and production is what Jewell is, he is not a height/weight/speed guy. pic.twitter.com/Cn3RILqMtC— NFL Draft and 49ers (@JL_Chapman) March 3, 2018
#Iowa LB Josey Jewell is everywhere on the tape. Makes first contact to stop McSorley on 4th and 2. Comes back the next very series with a first down pass breakup. #Patriots #NFLDraft pic.twitter.com/N5qHLMOBPB— Evan Lazar (@ezlazar) February 22, 2018
What do you think, BTB?
*Stats gathered from sports-reference.com, unless otherwise noted.
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