Option V: Rams land an outstanding down DL
Illinois down defensive lineman Jer'Zhan Newton is a tiny titan, standing 6-foot-2 and weighing 295 pounds. Thankfully, the LA Rams have never shied away from defenders on the line of scrimmage who stand 6-foot-2. All-Pro defensive lineman Aaron Donald stands 6-foot-1, and rookie nose tackle Kobie Turner stands 6-foot-2. Even standout outside linebacker Byron Young stands 6-foot-2. So what about Jer'Zhan Newton places him in the discussion of this very good group?
Even months before the 2024 NFL Draft, some draft profiles already project Newton as an immediate starter, and a likely candidate for NFL Pro Bowl honors. Some are even confident enough in his abilities to suggest that he is on track for NFL All-Pro honors at some point in his NFL career.
The abundance of raw defensive talent and instincts, limitless upside, and off the charts energy and agility makes him almost irresistible to an LA Rams team that boasts the best defensive line coach, Eric Henderson, and an incredible veteran mentor in Aaron Donald.
Much like the immediate impact of both OLB Byron Young and NT Kobie Turner, the LA Rams have shown that if the team invests valuable picks into the defensive front, Coach Eric Henderson all but ensures that the Rams will get their money's worth right out of the gate.
Newton is no slouch. In 10 games in 2023, he has registered 42 tackles, 6.5 tackles for a loss, and 5.5 quarterback sacks. Over the course of his four-year college career, Newton accounted for 177 tackles, 25.5 tackles for a loss, 16.0 QB sacks, five deflected passes, two forced fumbles, and three fumble recoveries.
The Rams have questions about the defensive line in 2024. Jer'Zhan Newton would go a very long way to answering all of those questions.