The Denver Broncos got a steal in linebacker Josey Jewell in the fourth round of the 2018 NFL Draft. He is exceptional in coverage…
In case Denver Broncos fans weren’t already excited enough about rookie linebacker Josey Jewell, Pro Football Focus dropped a pretty awesome stat about him and his phenomenal coverage abilities.
Jewell finished his Iowa career with six interceptions and 20 pass breakups over the past two seasons.
How do those statistics measure up on a per-snap basis?
In case you can’t read the fine print on that graphic, Jewell’s 16.4 percent rate of targets thrown into his coverage being batted or picked off is the best in the Pro Football Focus era.
Concerns about Jewell’s athleticism arose when he ran a 40-yard dash beyond 4.8 seconds at the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine, but there has never been a question about Jewell’s instincts in every facet of his game.
That extends into his coverage abilities, where Jewell makes up for a lack of pure speed with being in the right place pretty much all the time.
There are a few prime examples of this, some of which may not even show up in this type of statistical analysis.
Jewell looks like he’s sucked in on that wide receiver screen play but reads the blocks and the quarterbacks eyes quickly enough to get in position to bust the play up unbeknownst to the offensive linemen.
This is one of the smartest football plays you will see.
Jewell drops into his coverage here, which is no big deal on the surface until you see what he does after the ball is snapped.
He abandons his man and recognizes the pressure bearing down on Trace McSorley, and seems to anticipate before the ball is thrown that McSorley is going to take a hit and as a result won’t be able to get much behind his throw.
These are just a couple of examples of Jewell being in the right place at the right time, but having watched his past four seasons at Iowa these were not anomalies. They were not ‘lucky’ plays. Jewell may struggle in space but when it comes to manning a post and being in the right position, he’s an expert.