Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Josey Jewell - 2018 NFL Draft Scouting Report

With the NFL Draft fast approaching, it's time to start breaking down the top players from the Iowa Hawkeyes. I wanted to start with Josey Jewell, as even though he is not considered the best prospect, he was the guy who had the best career as a player for Iowa. Josey Jewell was a linebacker who was all over the field and likely top-10 draft pick, Josh Allen (who is quite tall), said that Jewell was the best player he played against while in college. That's some hefty praise, and as an Iowa fan, I certainly don't want to disagree, but I can't blindly agree either, so I watched his games against Nebraska, Wisconsin, Penn State, and Ohio State.

The thing that you are going to hear over and over about Jewell is that he is a guy who is always in the right place at the right time, and that gives him an opportunity to take advantage of favorable circumstances

It's not like this is an incredible play, but it's a sign of a larger situation that he always finds himself around the football.

Need more proof? Here he is being in the proper place in the zone to get an easy interception from Trace McSorley.

I had to include this second one for the mocking of McSorley at the end, because Jewell had built up enough cache with Kirk to actually show personality. You have to be one hell of a player to reach that level.

Of course, not all was great against Penn State as Saquon Barkley made him pay for it later in the game.

That's more of a case of how good Saquon Barkley is as opposed to any deficit in Jewell's game. But it does show that no matter how fundamentally sound and sure of a tackler you are, if you run into an athlete on the caliber of Barkley, you're going to look bad on occasion.

Jewell is not only great at diagnosing plays quickly, but he finds a way to weasel his way through to make plays. Here, he does an excellent job to destroy any chances of this screen pass succeeding.

This is not a case of two blockers not being able to stop Jewell; this is two offensive linemen who can't do any more than each get a single hand on him. He stutters just enough to fool both of them, split the seam and make the play. This is something that I saw multiple times in games with Jewell. He just knows how to find the crease and get between blockers to make a play.

The guy has the fundamentals down.

Tackling Saquon Barkley is never easy, but to keep up with him on a pass route and wrap him up in the open field shows that even though Jewell isn't a premier athlete, he knows how to get the most out of his athletic attributes.

This is a ridiculous play where Jewell has a good hit put on him but manages to stay on his feet and still make the play.

That level of body control is truly incredible. Barkley cuts Jewell with his block, but Jewell is able to catch himself with his hands, pop back up, stick his right arm out and somehow stop McSorley's progress enough to stop him from getting the first down with the help of some of his friends.

Jewell isn't even the most impressive player on this play as AJ Epenesa absolutely blows up Saquon Barkley on the play fake.
But Jewell sticks with the ball and doesn't let the quarterback anywhere near the line of scrimmage. Jewell may not impress on rushing a quarterback, but if that quarterback decides to rush, Josey will be there to make him pay.

Although Josey Jewell is not the most physically gifted player, he is more than able to make up for that with an incredible ability to diagnose plays quickly and put himself in a position to succeed. Do I see him becoming a Pro Bowler? No. But I think you can get yourself a starting caliber player who will come out and play well for you each and every week. He's not going to wow you with flashes of brilliance, but he's going to be in the right place at the right time, and it's tough to see a guy like that not succeeding at the next level. 

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