In today’s article, we will be looking at a corner that hasn’t been in the pros too long: Greg Newsome out of Northwestern. Newsome was sort of a late riser on draft boards, plus there were other names that got a lot of attention like Jaycee Horn, Patrick Surtain II, and Caleb Farley. Newsome’s biggest knock was just the limited number of snaps that he had and that the best competition he faced when it came to wide receivers was Ohio State. Newsome was drafted late in the first round by the Cleveland Browns, who used their second first-round pick to get him. In his rookie season, Newsome struggled with some injuries. He started in 11 games, played in 12, was inactive for four, and did not play in one other game. In the games he played he had 37 tackles, 9 passes defended, and 0 interceptions.
Through those 12 games, he was targeted as a defender 62 times and 39 of those were completed passes. That leaves him with a completion percentage of 62.9%. Not great but not exactly terrible either when you see that on those completions he gave up under 10 yards per completion and only 6.2 yards per target. Not bad for a rookie where he actually ranks in the middle of the pack for corners.
Let’s now take a look at the pros and cons of Newsome’s game…
(Film watched: Chicago, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh)
Size-wise Newsome has good length. He stands at 6’1” and 190 lbs. Newsome does a great job at limiting the amount of separation that receivers try to create. That was shown earlier by the stats that were mentioned. The separation and completion yards allowed are similar to some of the best veteran corners in the game. He does a great job of tracking the ball even though he had no interceptions in his rookie year. Newsome does a great job of finding the ball in the air and doing his best to knock the ball down without attracting a flag. He helps in run defense. Not great at wrapping up tougher guys but he gives great effort. Newsome has missed 15% of his attempted tackles in 2021 which is pretty high when compared to other corners. He does a good job of mirroring receivers and putting himself in good positions to make plays on the ball. This is a testament to his footwork. There is no clunkiness or lag in his steps. He is quick and decisive about where he will go with a receiver. He can cover deep throws as well. In the tape, I watched there has been no moment where it felt like he was burned by a receiver. He limits big plays and touchdowns. In 2021 he only allowed one touchdown.
On the not-so-good side of things, thankfully there isn’t much to say. To start, at times he can get a little grabby past the five-yard cushion he’s allowed. It hasn’t seemed to draw too many penalties. In 2021 he was responsible for only three defensive pass interference penalties (one against Houston and two against New England). He doesn’t have great closing ability. He honestly lacks some juice there. There are plenty of throws made that could be intercepted or batted away if he just had a little more of a pep in his step. He can get jostled around a little bit by stronger/physical receivers but has improved on that since his college days.
Overall, Newsome had a very impressive rookie season and in a very tough division as well. He showed that he improved on some things from his college days and has proven that he can hang with some of the league’s tougher receivers as an outside corner. I am interested to see how he settles in for his second year with his first year under his belt. Newsome was someone that I was low on in the 2021 draft cycle but I am glad to see he is doing so well.