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Johnny Newton 2024 NFL Draft Profile

Johnny Newton
(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

Johnny Newton 2024 NFL Draft Profile

One of the most talked about prospects entering the 2023 season was Illinois’ Johnny (Jer’Zhan) Newton. You could argue he had a better year this year than the year prior, but a Jones fracture in his foot has caused his draft stock to dip just a little. Is this a mistake, and should NFL teams view Newton as one of the best Defensive Tackles in the 2024 NFL Draft? Let’s talk about it.

Newton, a former three-star recruit out of Florida, committed to play for the Fighting Illini in 2020 and played all four seasons for the school. Newton came on strong in his final two seasons, totaling 111 tackles, 22.5 tackles for loss and 13 sacks. These are very solid numbers while playing in a conference like the BIg Ten, which has some prominent offensive lines.

Big Ten Conference Player of the Year last year, but it was a down year. Right. First team AP All-American. Finalist for the Nagurski Trophy. 4 blocked kicks this year, which led FBS. But we are to believe that he had a down year because his stupid PFF grade was lower? Give me a break. Vendetta is at war with them because they suck. Then there are dopes like Chad Reuter who said his stock his down because of “arm length”.

A wise man once told me to just watch the tape, and it’s clear Reuter and anyone else who is doubting Johnny Newton haven’t watched his tape. Superior upside rushing the passer, 7.5 sacks while playing over tackle is nothing to sneeze at. Super quick feet, violent choppy hands that always land firm and true. High IQ to recognize a double team and look to move over after disengaging. Pops his hips up quickly off the line, allowing him to swim through Guards.

He is strong, but at times in run defense, he can be overwhelmed if he doesn’t land first. It’s vital to his game to land first on the Guard to maintain his position. I’ve seen folks on the internet complain about his size, that isn’t a concern for me at all. I love him playing right around 300 lbs because that speed is on display.

I have a late first-round grade on Johnny Newton, and I believe he is among the better Defensive Tackles in a sneaky good class, if not the best. I am in no way saying that he is going to go on to have a career similar to Aaron Donald, but if you watch them side by side you do see some similarities in their games. Just something to think about some draft night.

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