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Commanders draft DT Jer'Zhan Newton with No. 36 overall pick

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The Washington Commanders have selected Illinois defensive tackle Jer'Zhan Newton with the No. 36 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Newton, a First Team All-American in 2023, was a stalwart for the Illini during his four-year career, recording 188 tackles and 18 sacks.

"Active interior defender with the potential to build on his disruptive production in college," **wrote’s Lance Zierlein.** "Newton's size and length don't stand out, but he has shown a consistent ability to gain extension and set edges against bigger opponents. Newton is clever in setting up blockers and then beating them with sudden hand usage and foot quickness as both a run defender and a pass rusher."

A team captain in 2023, Newton was the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, leading the team with 7.5 sacks. He was the only defensive lineman named as a finalist for the Nagurski Trophy finalist as one of the top five defenders in college football.

Newton is known for being a dominant presence in the run game and as a pass-rusher, but his ability to crash pockets is exceptional. He was tied for the national lead in QB pressures among interior defenders in 2023, according to Pro Football Focus, and his 44 pressures led the Big Ten conference.

While Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne are still the dominant leaders in the defensive line room, the Commanders have added another ferocious, talented defender for quarterbacks to worry about.

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