Decorah native, Josey Jewell, shown here during his senior year at the University of Iowa, will have a chance to showcase his talents at linebacker after the Denver Broncos selected him in the fourth round of the 2018 NFL Draft Saturday morning. (Photo by Becky Walz)
Decorah native, Josey Jewell, shown here during his senior year at the University of Iowa, will have a chance to showcase his talents at linebacker after the Denver Broncos selected him in the fourth round of the 2018 NFL Draft Saturday morning. (Photo by Becky Walz)

He’s headed west, but not too far.

Three-year Iowa captain and Decorah native, Josey Jewell waited as the 2018 NFL draft continued before the Denver Broncos selected him in the fourth round Saturday morning.

At 6’1”, the 235-pound linebacker is one of the most-decorated players in Iowa history and is the first Viking to be drafted since Jerry Reichow was picked by the Detroit Lions in 1956. 

In 1996, Mitch Running signed as a free agent with Indianapolis and in 2014 Brett Van Sloten signed with the Baltimore Ravens but was injured in a preseason game and never played a game.


College career

Playing at middle linebacker, Jewell is a 6’1”, 235-pound athlete who spent his college career at the University of Iowa, missing just one game in his final three seasons due to a shoulder injury. He was a three-year team permanent defensive captain for the Hawkeyes, becoming the only sophomore under Head Coach Kirk Ferentz’s tenure to be named a permanent team captain. 

Jewell led the Big Ten in tackles during the 2017 season with 136 total and ranked fourth nationally in tackles per game (11.3). His season total puts the Decorah native tied for the 12th best singles season total at Iowa. He recorded 69 solo stops and 67 assists, with 13.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks. He is one of three Hawkeye players to ever record over 115 tackles in three different seasons.

Following the conclusion of the 2017 season, Jewell was awarded countless awards including the Roy J. Carver MVP (defense), Hayden Fry Award (defense), Iron Hawk Award, the 2017 Lott IMPACT Trophy and was the recipient of the 2017 Jack Lambert Award presented by the Touchdown Club of Columbus.

Other honors included being unanimous Consensus First Team All-America player, the Butkus-Fitzgerald Linebacker of the Year in the Big Ten Conference, Academic All-Big Ten for third year, First Team All-Big Ten by league coaches and media, a finalist for Bronko Nagurski Trophy, one of five players named to Senior CLASS Award first team and was a semifinalist for the Butkus and Bednarik Award.

He also excelled in the classroom earning Academic All-Big Ten honors for three years.


See Tuesday’s Decorah Public Opinion for more on Jewell’s draft.