Watch out, Sheriff. There’s a new Outlaw in Denver and his name is Josey Jewell. The linebacker from Decorah, IA was taken with the 106th pick in the fourth round of the draft.
During his four years with the Hawkeyes, Jewell earned numerous honors (and a great nickname) for good reason. His finest hour of course came during his senior season, in which he was named Big Ten Player of the Year, consensus First Team All-American and first-team All-Big Ten, and his stats show why: he finished the year with 136 tackles, 69 stops and 67 assists. He also had 4.5 sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss, and added 11 pass break-ups, two interceptions and a forced and recovered fumble to the stat lines for good measure, too.
Around these parts, we’ve watched Jewell for the last four years wrecking opponents left and right, but some of the NFL scouts are a little weary of his size and speed. At the combine, Jewell tallied a 4.82 second 40-yard dash, and a 4.27 second 20-yard shuttle. My favorite bit from that NFL profile is this ‘strength’: “Pac-man tackler who owns a board full of high scores.” Other strengths include a bunch of things we already know: “film junkie who recognizes blocking schemes and adjusts accordingly,” “discipline, technique, and patience help him avoid missed and broken tackles,” and of course: “launches compact build through target points and imposes force on ball-carrier.”
His weaknesses include the above mentioned speed, lack of agility, and getting lost in coverage. Qualities that seem like they will prevent him, at least initially, from being a standout star, but are all skills that can be improved over time.
Here’s a deeper breakdown of Jewell our former video guru Rob Donaldson made before Jewell’s fantastic senior campaign:
Rob’s assessment seems pretty on-par with what the NFL scouts are saying as well. But I know one thing for sure, and that’s that The Outlaw belongs in the NFL. We’ll see how much of an immediate impact he makes, but if he can improve his speed and footwork, the rest should easily click into place. Jewell’s tenacity will certainly be missed in Kinnick Stadium, but I’m almost certain there will be some sort of long-term role for a player with this amount of determination in Denver.
Overall, this is a pretty solid landing spot for Jewell. He might not get a whole lot of playing time as a rookie, but he joins a team that’s rebuilding their defense and has a great veteran presence that he can learn from - including OLB Von Miller. Not many players in the league that would be better to learn from than one of the best at the position.
Congrats, Josey! We’ll miss you on Saturdays but look forward to seeing you on Sundays.