With the 166th pick in the 2014 NFL Draft the Colts took Jonathon Newsome out of Ball State University. A 6’3″ 247lb. DE out of Cleveland, Ohio- Newsome started his collegiate career at Ohio St. and played two seasons there. After failing to climb the depth chart, he then transferred to Ball State. He sat for a year (per NCAA rules) and began his tenure in Muncie in 2012, but not without a hiccup first. Unfortunately, Jonathon was arrested for possession of Marijuana and held on a warrant on a conversion charge as well in August of 2012, for attempting to shoplift male enhancement pills, which earned him a 2 game suspension. Exactly what all Colts fans wanted to hear, right? Apparently this did not affect his first year as a Cardinal, as he went on to notch 52 tackles, 12.5 for loss and 8.5 sacks in 11 games played, earning himself All-MAC second team honors. He continued to impress in 2013 with similar numbers of 64 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss and 8 sacks. He also forced 2 fumbles and grabbed an interception as he earned first team All-MAC honors.
At the combine in Indianapolis he posted solid numbers running a 4.72 40, 34″ vertical and 4.63 shuttle time. Combine numbers, as you know, are nice; however, they are just that- numbers. The combine, more or less, is simply a platform to show off athleticism for linemen and linebackers. One thing is for sure, Newsome is indeed athletic but his “in game” technique leaves a lot to be desired. While looking at Toledo, North Texas, and Virginia game tape, I came away less than impressed with his ability to either “set the edge” or effectively fight off blockers. When setting the edge in run defense his hands are not active once engaged by blockers, he appears to instinctively attempt to bullrush bigger and stronger offensive linemen, and is unable to release himself. When he is either keying the running back or rushing the passer he does significantly better, using quicker, more effective swim moves and punch techniques to fight through whoever lines up across from him. Newsome also excels coming down the line of scrimmage in pursuit and does well getting his hands up, making quarterbacks throw around him. He doesn’t possess great coverage skills, but does drop into his zones quickly and effectively.
As far as his athletic ability, and his future, I think he’s a solid project player that could certainly evolve into a very real talent for the Colts. Jonathon will have a future Hall of Fame edge rushing extraordinaire in Robert Mathis to learn from and sponge off of- gathering technique and learning an NFL work ethic in order to achieve a spot in the rotation. If Newsome aspires to be the man that fills Mathis’s shoes after his retirement, he has a long road being the first man in-last man out of the facilities in order to even come close, to be blunt.
Only time will tell what Newsome can or will achieve with the Indianapolis Colts. If it’s projects that Grigson and Pagano are drafting on defense instead of needs or “best player available” guys that can battle for a starting role or at minimum a spot in the immediate rotation, then I do not understand the rationale of this player at this pick. I thought there were several players still available that could have immediately made the defense better, and I don’t think you can say that about Newsome in this defense. I hope my gut instinct is wrong, but this pick made me feel that Grigson drafted a practice squad player with this one.
Very good initial burst
- Attacks the edge with speed
- Has great leverage
- Good lateral pursuit (especially down the line of scrimmage)
- Drops into zones quickly
- Very good tackler-with power
- Lacks strength
- Gets dominated inside the tackles (and by some TE’s)
- Is a liability in coverage
- Can’t effectively set the edge
- Off-the-field issues
- Poor hand technique fighting through blockers
- Very light
- Poor footwork
Here are a couple videos that will allow you to decide for yourself. Newsome is #11 often lining up at left DE.
Follow me on Twitter:
Matt Danely @The_Blue_Shoe