By Charlie Campbell
Summary: Under head coach Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern has produced a lot of tough football players who battle hard and play old-school, physical football. The Chicago, Illinois product Newsome is no different, and he fits right in with the mentality of the Wildcats’ defense. As a freshman in 2018, Newsome played in six games, totaling 23 tackles and four passes broken up. He then saw the field for nine games in 2019, making 36 tackles and 11 breakups. As a junior in 2020, Newsome played six contests, dealing with a groin injury for a while, and notched 12 tackles, an interception and 10 passes broken up. Newsome dealt with injuries in each of his collegiate seasons.
Newsome is a tall corner who has long arms, quick feet, speed and physicality. He can match up with fast receivers and blanket them in and out of their breaks. Newsome runs the routes with receivers and prevents them from getting separation.
Newsome has quick feet and agility. He can flip his hips open and run with receivers down the field, and his long frame makes it difficult to get passes around him. Newsome also has the size and physicality to take on big receivers. For the NFL, he will be an asset in the red zone and able to win the 50-50 throws. Newsome has No. 1-corner potential in the NFL in terms of pure coverage ability.
Newsome is a good contributor in the ground game, as he is a willing tackler who will come downhill and pack a punch. Newsome is comfortable playing near the tackle box and shows aggressiveness to make some plays in the backfield. As a pro, he is going to be appreciated by his coaches for his ability and willingness to defend the run. That is a blessing and a curse, however; Newsome is very physical and throws his body around, but he has significant injury history already and one has to question if he physically hold up in the NFL with that style of play.
Team sources say the big knock on Newsome is durability. Due to his repeated injuries at Northwestern, many scouts harbor serious doubts regarding whether Newsome can stay healthy in the NFL.
Newsome’s pro day was a surprise to scouts. Sources who were theresaid he ran faster than expected in the 40, but was not as fluid and did not look as good as expected in the field drills. They feel Newsome can be grabby and a bit overly physical, so cutting down on those things would reduce his penalties in the NFL.
Newsome is on the bubble between the first and second round in the 2021 NFL Draft. The durability issue is holding his stock down.
Player Comparison: Kevin Johnson. There are a lot of similarities between Newsome and Johnson. Both were very talented cornerbacks with the ability to run the route and prevent separation. They displayed the speed to cover and very physical with how they threw their bodies around. Johnson was an excellent corner in 2015 and 2016 before injuries derailed his career. The injuries depleted his physical talent, leading to him not being the same player.
Newsome is similar with excellent cover skills, but having major durability issues. If a player has a hard time staying healthy in college, it is tough to project that changing in the NFL with the bigger, stronger, faster competition to go along with the longer and more physically demanding season.
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