Johnny Newton the Steal Of the 2024 NFL Draft

The Washington Commanders, with the 36th overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, selected defensive tackle Johnny Newton from Illinois. Washington had a need for defensive line help and the fact that Newton was available 36th overall was something the Commanders could not pass up on.

The Commanders traded away Chase Young to the San Francisco 49ers and Montez Sweat to the Chicago Bears near the NFL Trade Deadline last season. One of the key defensive line players back is Da’Ron Payne. Washington did well with this selection of Newton in the 2024 NFL Draft.Ezoic

Washington CommandersJohnny Newton
Nov 6, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini defensive lineman Jer’Zhan Newton (94) reacts to a missed stop in the third quarter at Huntington Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

There were some mock drafts that had him as a first-round selection. It was a surprise that he lasted all the way into the second round because of his talent, but teams in the first round leaned towards more offense than defense. Last season with the Illinois Fighting Illini in the Big 10 Conference, he appeared in 12 games and also had 52 total tackles, 8.5 tackles for a loss, 7.5 sacks, two pass deflections, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery.

Newton during his junior season at Illinois had even better numbers with 14 tackles for a loss, 5.5 sacks, and 62 total tackles. He is a player that is going to make noise during his rookie season and it would not be a surprise if it happened.Ezoic

The Washington Commanders Found a Gem With Drafting Johnny Newton In the Second Round

Washington CommandersJohnny Newton
Nov 6, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Golden Gophers quarterback Tanner Morgan (2) is brought down by Illinois Fighting Illini defensive lineman Jer’Zhan Newton (94) and linebacker Isaiah Gay (92) for a loss in the fourth quarter at Huntington Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Commanders general manager Adam Peters was in the San Francisco 49ers front office alongside 49ers general manager John Lynch. He has found great talent over the years and that is why the 49ers have been so successful and Peters hopes he can have the same success with the Washington Commanders.

There were a lot of talented defensive players available early in the second round of the 2024 NFL Draft. Out of the best players available then, Johnny Newton may have been the best player available with that pick. Having 7.5 sacks as a defensive tackle in 12 games is pretty impressive.

Washington CommandersJohnny Newton
Sep 17, 2021; Champaign, Illinois, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini defensive lineman Jer’Zhan Newton (94) sacks Maryland Terrapins quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa (3) in the first half at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

He has a chance to be an impactful player for Washington right away. When they were drafting, some of the other defensive players available were cornerback Kool-Aid McKinstry and safety Tyler Nubin. Drafting a defensive lineman to win the game in the trenches was the smart way to go for the Washington Commanders. It would not be a surprise to see Johnny Newton’s name mentioned as a potential Defensive Rookie of the Year Candidate.

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