Illinois football DT Johnny Newton snubbed in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft

In what was a surprising moment in the 2024 NFL Draft, Illinois football great Johnny Newton was not selected in the first round
Illinois v Minnesota
Illinois v Minnesota / David Berding/GettyImages

The first round of the 2024 NFL Draft came and went, and the Illinois football team still has Johnny Newton on the board.

There were a lot of “experts” who thought Newton was going in the first round. The former Illini consensus All-American had all of the accolades to be a first-round pick but that didn’t end up being the case.

Coming into the night, Newton was projected to be somewhere in the 20s in the first round. I had his best landing spot as the No. 24 pick to the Dallas Cowboys. That didn’t end up being the case, as the Cowboys traded back and the Detroit Lions moved up to take Terrion Arnold out of Alabama.

A few other teams late in the first round needed a defensive lineman too. The Green Bay Packers were next, but they chose Jordan Morgan to help the offensive line. The Arizona Cardinals could have used a defensive tackle at No. 27, but they picked Darius Robinson to help on the end of the defensive line.

And then you got back to the Cowboys. They got pick No. 29 from the Lions. This was the second chance for Dallas to pick Newton. Instead, they went with offensive lineman Tyler Guyton.

Sadly, for Illinois football defensive tackle Johnny Newton, interior defensive line was not a priority in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft

The fact Newton didn’t go in the first round blows my mind. This kid was incredible with the Illini, and he was arguably the best defensive player in the country.

I would label Newton not going in the first round as a snub. Most people thought he was a first-round lock, but it looks like he will have to wait until the second round.

That is okay, though. Interior defensive line was clearly not a priority for NFL teams in the first round. The only interior defensive lineman who was selected in the first round was Byron Murphy II with pick No. 16 by the Seattle Seahawks. Beyond that pick, the first round was dominated by quarterbacks, wide receivers, edge rushers, and offensive linemen.

Newton is going to get picked early in the second round. There is no way he lasts past the first 10 picks in round two. Whoever lands this kid is getting a steal, especially now.

Next. Top 10 Illinois football NFL Draft busts of all time. Top 10 Illinois football NFL Draft busts of all time. dark