Name: Greg Newsome II
Height/Weight/40 yd dash: 6’1”/190 lbs/4.38 secs
Draft Projection: 2nd Rounder
Greg Newsome II starred as a multi-sport athlete in high school, playing basketball and football for Glenbard North High School in Carol Stream, Illinois until he transferred to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida for football his senior year. He would go on to record 2 interceptions and 15 passes defensed, leading IMG to a 9-0 record. As a 3-star recruit at the IMG Academy, he received offers from Boston College and Arkansas, amongst others, but ended up committing to Northwestern in 2017.
As a true freshman in 2018, Newsome II appeared in 6 games (4 starts), making 23 tackles to go along with 4 passes defensed. He would miss a handful of games that season due to an ankle injury. Those injury issues would plague him in his sophomore season, as Newsome II made 8 starts, missing 4 games due to an undisclosed injury, and recorded 36 tackles and 11 passes defensed (2nd in Big Ten).
In a shortened 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic, Newsome II would earn First Team All-Big Ten honors and be named to the AP All-American Third Team after recording 1 interception, 12 tackles, and 7 passes defensed in 3 games. To add to that, he only allowed a 31.6% completion percentage and 7.8 yards per catch when being thrown at, according to PFF. His injury issues would resurface as he would have to exit the Big Ten Championship game versus Ohio State early due to a groin injury.
- Good speed
- Great size and length
- Good strength for the position
- Good physicality in press situations
- Twitchy athlete; able to change direction well
- Locates and plays ball well
- Exceptional elevation to disrupt jump ball/contested catch opportunities
- Very versatile (can play off-man, press and Cover 3 very well)
- Above-average football IQ
- Excellent recovery speed
- Agile and fluid athlete
- Excels at jarring catches loose
- Great awareness in zone coverage
- Read and react skills need improvement
- Okay instincts
- Hasn’t forced many turnovers
- Injury history
- Prone to committing penalties
- Only 18 starts in college
- Struggled in position drills at Pro Day
- Lean frame
- Doesn’t have the power to shed bigger blockers
- Could struggle versus bigger, more physical NFL receivers
Pro Comparison: Darius Slay. Although he may not have the ball production potential Slay had coming into the draft, both of these players are very fluid athletes with great length to be very disruptive at the point of attack. Both excel in press coverage and have great awareness in zone coverage, along with being willing tacklers in the run game due to their physical gifts. Like Slay though, Newsome will struggle against bigger, stronger receivers (see DK Metcalf vs Slay, 2020) due his lean frame.
Game to Watch: Northwestern vs. Nebraska, 2020. Greg Newsome II showcased a very vital trait that is needed from NFL defensive backs, a short memory. Yes, he did have 2 penalties in this game (1 pass interference and 1 horse collar tackle), but he still managed to stay on his game and lock up whatever side of the field he was on, finishing with 3 passes defensed and only 1 catch allowed. He also flashed his potential tackling in the run game, racking up 5 tackles. His efforts helped Northwestern secure a 21-13 win over their conference foe.
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