With the 2021 NFL Draft quickly approaching at the end of April, teams are positioning themselves to address needs and bolster depth at key positions. For the New Orleans Saints, one primary area of need is at the cornerback position. Fresh off of losing starter Janoris Jenkins in free agency, the Saints now have question marks and uncertainty in their defensive backfield. One potential answer to these questions would be drafting Greg Newsome II.
Whether or not the former Northwestern standout will be available when the Saints select at the 28th pick remains to be seen as his draft stock is soaring by the day. Newsome was impressive in his Pro Day, running a 4.38 in the 40 yard dash, recording a 40’’ vertical jump, and over 10 feet in his broad jump. Newsome measured out at 6’1, 192 for his height and weight. Even before his measurables were analyzed so closely, Newsome had the college tape and stats to back his claim as one of the best cornerbacks in this draft class.
Newsome was named Big 10 All-Conference First Team and All-American Third Team in his junior year. He was absolutely dominate this past season in coverage and was a driving force in leading Northwestern to the Big 10 Championship game. He was a shutdown corner in every sense of the word and his stats bear out this claim.
Greg Newsome II: Lowest completion % allowed in single coverage in the 2021 Draft class (10.5%) pic.twitter.com/LALOA5E9Yz— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) March 17, 2021
Greg Newsome II yards allowed in 2020— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) March 23, 2021
- Nebraska: 27
- Purdue: 59
- Wisconsin: 7
- Michigan State: 0
- Illinois: 0
- Ohio State: 0 pic.twitter.com/Vb73bwLxeg
His draft profile has scouts impressed, citing his competitive nature with receivers and his willingness to mix it up at the line of scrimmage. Scouts were also impressed with his ball skills as he led the team with 9 pass breakups in 6 games. They noted his quick and instinctive read of routes and his location of the ball while it’s in flight.
In a video posted by Ryder McConville at The Scout Academy, what stands out is his fluid feet in and out of receiver routes and his ability never to panic if he initially bites on a pump fake. His 4.38 speed definitely aids in his makeup speed ability. He has the ability to play receivers on the inside and outside of routes.
Greg Newsome II, CB, NW— Ryder McConville (@RyderM25) February 23, 2021
+ Excellent ball skills
+ COD/Click and close
+ Highly instinctual
+ Quick twitch athlete
+ Coverage versatility
+ Field/Situational awareness
+ Understanding of leverage
+ Staying square w/ patience
+ Natural feel/anticipation#NFLDraft #NFL pic.twitter.com/LBc57jGIJV
One of the the weaknesses highlighted with Newsome is his over-aggressiveness with putting hands on receivers that led him to be flagged for a few pass interference calls. They also question his slender frame at 192 and whether that can last a full season with how physical he tends to play. Newsome did not play a full season in college due to various injuries.
Those risks in my opinion are definitely worth the reward you could get with a player like Newsome. He plays the style of defense that Saints defensive coordinator Dennis Allen looks for at that position. Someone who is physical and will be asked to defend on an island game in and game out. With the Saints in flux awaiting on what judgement, if any, Lattimore may receive and them looking for a starter opposite him, Newsome is someone the Saints can draft and be ready to play Day 1.
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