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Who did the Commanders get in Jer’Zhan Newton?

Jer’Zhan Newton was the name announced by the Hall of Fame former Redskins cornerback Darrell Green as the 36th overall selection in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Who is Newton?

Well, first of all, I was surprised the big defensive tackle who played at the University of Illinois was not selected in the first round Thursday night.

You see, Newton was listed by most analysts as one of the top 30 players in this draft.

The Commanders already have Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne. So why did Adam Peters select Newton? Perhaps it’s because Peters honestly felt he was the best player available. Newton is 6-foot-3, 304 pounds, and stood out during Illinois games this past season.

The Commanders desperately need an offensive tackle, but with the run on tackles last night in round one, it was expected they would not reach at No. 36 for an offensive tackle. Unlike the prior administration, this group led by Peters chose a good player they were most likely surprised was still available.

Preferring “Johnny,” Newton was an All-American during the 2023 season. For his stellar play, Newton was awarded the Nagurski-Woodson Defensive Player of the Year and also the Smith-Brown Defensive Lineman of the Year award. He was also First-Team All-Big Ten in both of his last two seasons for Illinois (2022, 2023).

Peters took Newton to get the best player despite the fact that he already possesses two fine defensive tackles. He is, after all, attempting to build the best roster possible, not reach and fill a position.

There is a huge difference.

Newton was born in St Petersburg, Florida and played his high school ball at Clearwater Central Catholic.

Story originally appeared on Commanders Wire