Josey Jewell Could Be a Potential Mid-round Target For Detroit In The 2018 NFL Draft
Josey Jewell was a standout high-school athlete in football, baseball, and track, earning all-state honors in the prior two. With below average measurables, Jewell nearly played for Division III Luther College before earning a scholarship to Iowa. He proved to be a deeply productive starter, leading the Big Ten in tackles in 2015 and 2017 with a fourth-place finish sandwiched between them. He was a first-team All American his senior year.
He was named to the team Leadership Group all four years, the only player in his class to do so his sophomore year. Jewell was a three-year captain. He was a National Honor Society member and earned academic all-district honors his junior and senior years of high school.
Jewell started at inside linebacker, frequently playing the middle hook and curl flat in zone. He occasionally took backs and tight ends in man. He was asked to fill gaps in the run game and hold at the point of attack and was frequently used as a blitzer, often on green-dog plays. He has average height and below average bulk with a sturdy frame and adequate athletic ability with good acceleration, solid hip fluidity, and adequate quickness, change of direction and balance
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Jewell occasionally communicates with his teammates and adjusts before the snap to get a beat on the play. He’s quick to key through the movement of the line to the backfield to diagnose blocking schemes and has a quick first step in the right direction. The linebacker is quick to fill all gaps and is a strong point of attack player. He can evade blockers who drop their head into blocks and has exceptional hand strength and quickness to swipe past off-balance blockers and stack and hold at the point of attack. He’s strong enough to dictate and disengage quickly against fullbacks and tight ends.
He’s quick to diagnose outside runs with solid sideline to sideline range. Jewell possesses excellent instincts and acceleration to explode downhill to blow up plays or force the back’s lane. He has the effort to pursue plays to the sideline. Jewell takes good pursuit angles to the ball and runs through the front hip of the ball carrier and rarely bites on jump cuts. He has a knack for making big stops in big spots.
Jewell gets depth quickly in zone coverage and has excellent pattern recognition skills to feel routes entering his area to either side and sense movement developing behind him. He chips passing receivers. The former Hawkeye reads the eyes of the quarterback and breaks on the ball and underneath routes quickly with solid downhill acceleration. He can transition from a pedal to run well to carry slower tight ends up the seam. As a blitzer, he displays impressive ability to conceal before the snap and occupy lineman to free up the rush. He knows when to jump to get a hand in the throwing lane.
Despite his quick diagnosis, Jewell doesn’t always see the full picture developing and can get in trouble biting hard on the zone read. When he’s late with his hands, he gets driven off the ball by most lineman at the second level. He lacks the timing with his hands to flow over chop blocks cleanly.
Jewell has below average foot speed, which may be exploited at the next level. He has trouble getting to the edge against outside runs against faster ball carriers. He doesn’t consistently flow over traffic well moving to the outside. From off coverage, he’s heavy footed to break on backs and tight ends coming out of the backfield and lacks the closing ability to get back in phase. Jewell gets toasted when he gets mismatched against receivers and faster backs.
NFL coaches will love the processing and demeanor of Jewell, but his limitations could do him in at the next level. He has a chance to become a starter in a scheme that asks him to diagnose well and stack and the point of attack to make plays in short areas. He can handle some short area zone responsibilities, but he’s never going to be a great coverage player. He could provide value as a special teams player early on.
Grade: 5.70(Potential Starter)