(Editor's Note: While the start of the 2018 NFL Draft isn't until April 26, it's never too early to profile some of the key participants. The staff of DallasCowboys.com intends to preview the landscape of the draft's top prospect, with an emphasis on possible Cowboys draft picks – from the first round to the last. Today's featured player is Iowa's Josey Jewell.)
- Name: Josey Jewell
- Position: Linebacker
- Height/Weight:6-1 / 234
- Honors:In 2017, Jewell earned first-team All-American honors, along with the Big Ten's Nagurski-Woodson Defensive Player of the Year award. He's also been a finalist for the Butkus Award given to the nation's top linebacker.
- Key Stat:Jewell is one of three players in Iowa history to tally more than 115 tackles in three different seasons, according the school's official web site.
Where He's Projected:
Draft observers generally believe Jewell can go as early as the second or third round. Although some question his size and athleticism at the next level, he's one of the most productive linebackers in the draft who has shown an outstanding ability to diagnose and finish plays.
How He Helps The Cowboys:
He's a tackle machine, first and foremost. Jewell's 11.3 tackles per game as a senior was the fourth-highest average in the country, according to Iowa's web site. He projects as a middle linebacker in a 4-3 scheme like Dallas', and the Cowboys need depth there even with Jaylon Smith progressing and veteran Joe Thomas signing as a free agent this week. Given the time Sean Lee missed due to injury last season and the subsequent free-agent departures of Anthony Hitchens and Kyle Wilber, the team seems likely to add more numbers to the linebacker position in the draft.
- One of my favorite players in the draft. He's not going to blow you away with athletic testing numbers.
- Steady performer down after down. Consistent in his approach and the way he goes about his job.
- Respect how physical he plays during the games. Kind of guy that comes after you from the opening whistle.
- Physical wrap-up tackler that can cover well enough. Don't want to put him in a ton of one-on-one situations, but he's not a liability in that area.
- He has a nose for the ball and he's a big-time finisher. The tougher the matchup, the tougher he plays.
- Old-school type of linebacker that has the ability to play a long time in this league.