Who is the 6-foot-1-inch and 234 pound Josey Jewell?
You have heard of linebackers who are athletic freaks? Well, Josey Jewell is not one of them. He was only a two-star recruit out of high school in Iowa, and had offers only from Iowa and Northern Iowa. His numbers at the NFL combine were pedestrian at best. He ran a 4.82 40-yard dash, and benched pressed 225 pounds 18 times..not exactly eye popping numbers. But he is just one of those guys that produces on the football field. As a redshirt freshman with the Hawkeyes in 2015, Jewell played in ten games, logging 51 tackles and a sack. He got even better the nest three seasons, topping 120 tackles all three years and being named a team captain. His senior year with the Hawkeyes, he was named as an All-American and racked up a long list of other awards, including First-Team All Big-Ten, Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and several others. He may not be your classic "workout warrior," but the guy played some serious plays.
Josey Jewell Highlights
Intelligent player who has a reputation for studying film and applying what he sees on the football field. Reads plays well, and is seldom over-aggressive or caught out of position. Seems to have a nose for the ball, and doesn't make a lot of stupid plays. While Jewell isn't the fastest guy, he tends to make up for it by being in the right place at the right time and will make the plays he is supposed to make over short distances. A high-motor guy who doesn't take plays off and displays excellent technique. Even though a lot of scouts question his pass-coverage skills, he did log 24 passes defensed over his last three season.
Is limited both in terms of size and speed, and can be overwhelmed by larger blockers. Is considered to have tight hips and doesn't transition well into coverage. Some experts consider him a "two down" guy, due to a lack of speed and limited coverage skills. While he is capable of blitzing, his physical limitations in that area--especially a lack of speed--probably mean getting to the quarterback will never be his strong suit. His ability to shed blocks needs some work.
Is he a fit for the Rams?
Potentially, yes. One concern is that if Mark Barron ends up starting at Inside linebacker for the Rams again, he and Jewell on the field at the same time leave the inside linebacking duo a little on the small side. They had the same problem last season, and the team's run defense was not very good. On the other hand, there is no guarantee that Barron will start again or even be on the team by the start of the season. Jewell is the kind of smart overachiever who should pick up Wade Phillips' defensive scheme quickly and won't hurt the unit by being stupid or lazy.
Paul Posluszny, Jacksonville Jaquars