Where Will Johnny Newton Get Drafted? Exploring DT’s Draft Stock and Potential Landing Spots

Johnny Newton is the best remaining defensive tackle available on Day 2 of the 2024 NFL Draft. Which teams could be targeting him?

Day 1 of the 2024 NFL Draft has come and gone and plenty of talent still remains on the board heading into Day 2.

Illinois defensive tackle Jer’Zhan “Johnny” Newton had a strong college career and is the best remaining DT in the draft. He could be a target for several teams looking for a productive and versatile two-phase disruptor.

Update: Jer’Zhan “Johnny” Newton was drafted in the second round by the Washington Commanders (No. 36 overall).

Johnny Newton’s Draft Stock

Heading into the draft, Newton was largely expected to be a first-round pick, but he did not hear his name called on the event’s opening night.

If there’s one thing Newton knows how to do, it’s produce.

As a high school senior at Clearwater Central Catholic High School, Newton had 16 sacks, 29.5 total tackles for loss, and three forced fumbles.

In his first two seasons at Illinois, Newton combined for 73 tackles, including five sacks. And in a standout 2022 campaign that earned him first-team All-American honors, Newton logged 62 tackles, including 5.5 sacks, 14 total TFLs, and three pass breakups.

The 2023 season brought more success for Newton. Alongside his teammate Keith Randolph Jr., Newton notched a career-high in sacks with 7.5 and had 8.5 total TFLs, adding two pass breakups and a forced fumble.

Newton definitely has the traits to carry over his impact to the professional stage and can be a productive starter fairly early in his career.

Pro Football Network Draft Analyst Ian Cummings rated Newton as a top-15 prospect in the 2024 NFL Draft and said he is his top DT prospect in the class, ranked over Texas’ Byron Murphy II. Murphy was selected at No. 16 on Thursday by the Seattle Seahawks.

Cummings describes Newton as having excellent natural leverage, proportional length, and universal alignment versatility while profiling as an explosive, high-energy athlete who can invade gaps with his spry mobility and zeal.

MORE: Ian Cummings’ Full Scouting Report on Johnny Newton

“Newton is a surgical disruptor in both run defense and pass defense, whose hyper-elite flexibility serves as a defining and dominating trait,” Cummings wrote. “With his combined burst, flexibility, hand strength, and angle awareness, he’s an unnaturally permeable force against run blocks, who can also stack, shed, and one-gap at a high level.

“Meanwhile, as a pass rusher, Newton has the combined athleticism, hand precision, violence in his strikes, bend, and motor to menace the QB from a multitude of alignments.”

Potential Day 2 Landing Spots for Newton

Cincinnati Bengals

The Cincinnati Bengals attacked their biggest need Thursday night in Round 1 of the NFL Draft, making Georgia’s Amarius Mims the fifth offensive tackle selected in the first 18 picks.

With that key position addressed, defensive tackle moves to the forefront, and Newton might be the only prospect for whom the Bengals would consider trading up if he is still available around the 40th overall pick.

Miami Dolphins

Chris Grier told reporters Thursday that he tried hard late in the evening to trade up for a second first-round pick.

This tells us that even without a third- or fourth-round pick this year, the Miami Dolphins are going to be aggressive in targeting players they really like, and one of those could be Newton.

KEEP READING: 2024 NFL Draft — Top 50 Best Available Prospects Remaining

The team is in need of new talent on the defensive line, and Newton could provide what they are looking for.

Houston Texans

If Newton is still available when it comes time for the Houston Texans to pick, they get incredible value at a position of need.

Sheldon Rankins and Jonathan Greenard both left in free agency. The Texans were able to add Danielle Hunter and Denico Autry to supplement the EDGE rotation, but the DT spot can still get stronger.

Looking for everything you need surrounding the 2024 NFL Draft? Make sure to check out the latest draft results, overall team grades, and updated best remaining players available at every position!

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