Jer'Zhan Newton

Dynasty Player Profile: Jer’Zhan Newton

Jer’Zhan Newton | Illinois 6’2” | 304 lbs         08/31/2002 (Age 21)

Jer’Zhan Newton was drafted by the Washington Commanders, becoming the third Defensive Tackle and 36th overall player selected in the 2024 NFL Draft.


Jer’Zhan Newton was a three-star defensive line prospect coming out of Florida who landed at Illinois and stayed loyal to the program. During a covid-shortened 2020 freshman season, Newton played in all eight games and earned two starts, logging 23 tackles, 1.5 sacks. In 2021, he garnered notice from the rest of the BIG10, earning Honorable Mention All-Big Ten Conference honors after playing in 12 games with 11 starts. He amassed 51 tackles, 4.5 TFLs, and 3.5 sacks.  As a junior in 2022, Newton earned Second-team Associated Press All-American and First-team All-Big Ten Conference honors. He led the Illini with 14 TFLs after starting all 13 games, compiling 62 tackles, 5.5 sacks, and 3 PBUs.

His senior year, Newton earned First-team Associated Press All-American. He was also the Big Ten Conference Defensive Player of the Year and earned First-team All-Big Ten honors. He was a finalist for the Nagurski Trophy. Newton led Illinois with 7.5 sacks and led the entire FBS with a school-record 4 blocked kicks. He appeared in 12 games with 11 starts, also registering 52 tackles, 8.5 TFLs, 2 PBUs, and a forced fumble. 

Jer'Zhan Newton - 2023 - Football - University of Illinois Athletics


His loyalty to building up a bad team paid off, as Newton led an Illinois defense to prominence over his four-year collegiate career. Newton is a very active and noticeable player on film who creates a lot of disruption in the trenches. He has learned and developed over time, and though his size and length are par for the course, his routinely beats larger opponents.

Newton is clever in setting up blockers and then beating them with sudden hand usage and foot quickness both as a run defender and a pass rusher. He is both stronger and more athletic than he looks. He put up impressive film against quality offensive lines in the BIG10. Newton also has a lengthy motor and does not give up on plays, which can provide TFLs and even sack opportunities with second and third-effort plays. 


Newton did not participate in any NFL Combine tests or drills due to a Jones fracture in his right foot during the 2023 season. He underwent surgery to repair it in January, which limited his participation in workouts during the draft process. 

NFL Draft 2024


Rapid Reaction to Draft Capital: Good

Rapid Reaction to Landing Spot: Excellent

Newton was selected with the 36th overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft by the Washington Commanders. 


Newton lands in an outstanding interior defensive line room, with an opportunity to learn from top-10 tackles at their positions in DaRon Payne and Jonathan Allen. When one of them moves on in free agency in 2025, Newton is poised to take over in a prominent role that will be lucrative for statistics and fantasy football production. While he is probably disappointed in the draft day slide (due in part to his limited participation in workouts during the draft process), the landing spot is one of the best possible outcomes. 

Oddly enough, Newton is flying under the radar as often the third or fourth DT taken off the draft board in dynasty IDP rookie drafts. He ranks as your author’s rookie DT2 of this class. He comes in as the ninth overall IDP rookie. You can actually draft him as late as the fourth of fifth rounds of dynasty IDP rookie drafts this offseason. He is the perfect candidate for taxi squads. By 2025 he could be a top-15 option at DT and even worthy of occasionally starting in watered-down IDP leagues that only require the DL designation (DE+DT) for starting lineups.  

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