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Colts 2015 Player Preview: Outside Linebacker Jonathan Newsome

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The Indianapolis Colts will report to training camp on August 1 with a 90-man roster, and we'll be taking a look at every single player on the roster (though it obviously will change some) as we approach camp. Today, we look at outside linebacker Jonathan Newsome.

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The fact that a fifth-round rookie led the Colts in sacks last year with 6.5 tells you everything you need to know about their pass rush in 2014 (hint: it wasn't very good), but it doesn't tell the whole story when it comes to Jonathan Newsome, who was one of the most pleasant surprises of the season a year ago.

In his rookie season, the Colts' fifth-round draft pick out of Ball State played in all 19 games (including the playoffs) and recorded 33 tackles, 7.5 sacks, and four forced fumbles.  As already noted, he led the Colts in sacks (6.5 in the regular season with another added in the postseason) and really provided the only true pass rush threat for much of the time.  The team's pass rush struggles from 2014 (without Robert Mathis) have been well-documented, but if it weren't for Newsome it would have been much worse.  Considering the fact that he was a rookie who played like he did last year, Newsome was one of the most encouraging players of the season for the Colts.

Entering the 2015 season, he's no longer the best pass rush option for the Colts, but he'll still get playing time and has plenty of room to keep improving.  Robert Mathis is returning from a torn Achilles and the team signed Trent Cole in free agency, giving the Colts two veteran pass rushers who should be able to help the Colts significantly.  But Newsome is the young player who should keep improving, and even before he stepped foot on the field for the Colts he drew some comparisons to Robert Mathis.  If he could continue improving to where he got even somewhere close to having an impact like Mathis, that would be huge for the Colts.  In 2015, that's the goal for Newsome: to keep improving.  He won't have to do it all by himself anymore, but he could be a valuable piece of the team's pass rush anyway.