2024 Exclusive Sneak Peek: Jer’Zhan Newton

Jer'Zhan Newton, Illinois

2024 Exclusive Sneak Peek: Jer’Zhan Newton, DL, Illinois


Welcome to the Exclusive Sneak Peek: Jer’Zhan Newton is a defensive lineman out of Illinois. He is from Clearwater, FL and was a 3-star recruit out of Clearwater Central Catholic.

Newton committed to the Illinois Fighting Illini in December of 2019. At that time he was ranked as DL47 on 247sports.

He finished his freshman season with 23 total tackles, 1.5 sacks, and 1 fumble forced through 8 games played. Each year thereafter he would continue to improve his game.

In his sophomore season, he continued on his early success by doubling his tackles and sacks. He finished with 50 total tackles and 3.5 sacks through 12 games. In 2022, he was selected to the All-Big Ten First Team after leading the team with 5.5 sacks.

In his senior season, 2023, Newton became a team captain. He was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. Newton is leaving the Fighting Illini after having 123 total pressures with 18 total sacks in his four-year career.


Measurables

Height: 6’2” (22th-percentile)                                 

Weight: 295 lbs (65th-percentile)

Age: 21.3                                                            

Class: Junior


NCAA Statistics

Defense & Fumbles Table
Tackles Def Int Fumbles
Year School Conf Class Pos G Solo Ast Tot Loss Sk Int Yds Avg TD PD FR Yds TD FF
2020IllinoisBig TenFRDL7617231.51.5000001
2021IllinoisBig TenFRDL121931503.53.5000000
*2022IllinoisBig TenSO1329336214.05.500032000
2023IllinoisBig TenJRDT122626528.57.500021001
CareerIllinois8010718727.518.000053002
Provided by CFB at Sports Reference: View Original Table
Generated 1/16/2024.

Scouting Reports

Strengths

  • Excellent movement with his hands. Uses his strength and technique to get around blockers effectively.
  • Versatile athlete. Can play anywhere on the defensive line.
  • Strong IQ and awareness allow him to disrupt the backfield.
  • Explosive off the line. At 295 pounds his agility is remarkable to watch.

Weaknesses

  • Often struggles when picking up the double team.
  • Because of his smaller size for an interior lineman, he might be most successful on the end.
  • At times struggles against run blocking getting pushed back and off balance.

Pre-Draft Analysis

Expected Draft Capital: Top 15 Overall

Ideal Landing Spot: Las Vegas Raiders

Drake Maye UNC
Courtesy of nflmockdraftdatabase.com

Currently, the Las Vegas Raiders have the 13th pick overall. There are a few landing spots before pick 13, but I think they choose other defensive players before choosing Newton. For example, the Atlanta Falcons could choose Laiatu Latu if they pass on a quarterback with the 8th pick. The Minnesota Vikings at pick 11 could be a nice spot. But I think they chose Dallas Turner or Jared Verse instead.

That brings me to the Las Vegas Raiders at 13. Give defensive end Maxx Crosby a partner to disrupt the backfield. Allow Crosby to teach Newton how to succeed at the next level. The Raiders might need a quarterback the most out of the teams in the teens. But if Newton falls to you then you have to take that pass rusher.

Newton is arguably the best defensive lineman on the board. He has a natural ability to get off the line and attack all in one motion. He will be effective and efficient at the next level. And in the coming years possibly one of the sack leaders for his team.

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