ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — When Josey Jewell journeyed to Denver for an in-person visit ahead of the 2018 NFL Draft, he felt a familiar connection.
After four years in Iowa City, Iowa playing for the Hawkeyes, Jewell had grown accustomed to the close-knit, familial feel often attributed to Midwestern towns.
He sensed the same sort of attitude in the altitude.
“It was my favorite place out of the three that I visited,” Jewell said. “It’s a special place, and I can’t wait to keep on working here.”
Asked what about Denver helped earn that distinction, Jewell pointed to the culture he sensed from the players and coaches.
“It feels like what I grew up with, going to Iowa and then coming here,” Jewell said. “It’s just an amazing culture and a winning culture.”
The Broncos used a fourth-round draft pick to guarantee Jewell would wind up in Denver for the foreseeable future. In doing so, President of Football Ops./General Manager John Elway secured an intriguing talent.
Jewell, who was named the 2017 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and a consensus All-American, may have been the best tackler in the nation.
He finished the 2017 season with 132 tackles — which led the conference — and he ranks second in tackles in Big Ten history.
What’s his secret to a skill that’s become a lost art around the NFL?
“It’s a lot of fundamental stuff that we worked on,” Jewell said. “I think the coaches back in college really helped me out with that. Just being able to focus on that — and it’s all about small details. Being able to wrap up and roll, just depending on what kind of tackle you’re supposed to make. That’s all the coaches.”
Jewell hopes to first display his technique on special teams. And if his role extends from there to share snaps with Todd Davis and Brandon Marshall, he’d welcome that opportunity, as well.
For the moment, Jewell will focus on the stiff competition that will come from a “crazy” defense that has plenty of playmakers.
“I’m just ready for this opportunity,” Jewell said. “[I’m] ready to get out on the field and play with other guys.”