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Prospect Primer: Jer'Zhan 'Johnny' Newton, DL, Illinois

Strong, stocky interior pass rusher totaled 18 sacks over four college seasons

Jer’Zhan ‘Johnny’ Newton, DL, Illinois
Jer’Zhan ‘Johnny’ Newton, DL, Illinois has consulted more than two dozen mock drafts from reputable national outlets and compiled a list of players most frequently mocked as draft selections in the latter portion of the first round (picks 20-32) who could be available when the Packers are on the clock at No. 25 overall.

Between now and draft day, those players will be profiled with thumbnail sketches and videos known as "Prospect Primers."

Today's player is …

Jer'Zhan "Johnny" Newton, DL, Illinois

Height/Weight: 6-2, 304

Key stats: Played in 45 games with 37 starts over four years, posting career-high 7½ sacks in 2023 and leading the FBS with four blocked kicks.

College honors: Two-time first-team All-Big Ten selection went from second-team AP All-American in '22 to consensus first-team choice in '23, plus Big Ten defensive player of the year honors and finalist status for the Nagurski Trophy (nation's top defender).

Background/other info: Highly decorated and experienced interior defensive line prospect who saw his sack total increase every year over four seasons, peaking at 7½ last year. Posted his career high in tackles for loss in 2022, with 14, which draft analysts say was his better season of game film. Also became a special-teams maven by blocking four kicks last season. Doesn't have ideal height or length at his position in the NFL but gets a lot out of his strong, stocky build. Considered a better interior pass rusher than run defender at the moment, with work to do in the latter area, but could be a factor getting after QBs right away as a young NFL player.


2024 Prospect Primers