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New NFL Mock Draft Projects Northwestern CB Greg Newsome to Colts; GM Chris Ballard Attended his Pro Day

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 28 Northwestern at Wisconsin Photo by Dan Sanger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

According to The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman (subscription), the Indianapolis Colts are projected to select Northwestern cornerback Greg Newsome with the 21st overall pick in his debut 2021 NFL Mock Draft:

21. Indianapolis Colts: Greg Newsome, CB, Northwestern

It’ll be tempting to not grab an O-lineman, but I think they take the 6-foot-1, 190 pounder. Newsome had an excellent 2020 on a very good Wildcats defense. The long corner, who had nine PBUs in six games, was a big reason why Northwestern led the nation in pass efficiency defense in 2020.

The Coaching Intel

“He and that entire secondary were so well-coached that they were never out of position. He always played with proper leverage and did a great job of reading the QB to get an early jump on passes. He is far more athletic than what you’d expect for Northwestern.”

The 6’1”, 190 pound junior cornerback recorded 12 tackles (8 solo), an interception, and 9 pass breakups during 6 starts for the Wildcats in 2020—earning First-Team All-Big Ten honors.

He had an impressive physical showcase at Northwestern’s recent Pro Day—and among those executives and scouts in attendance was Colts general manager Chris Ballard:

Newsome is currently NFL Network Daniel Jeremiah’s 31st best ranked prospect overall, but after his strong Pro Day peformance/physical measurables, his stock is clearly on the rise:

31. Greg Newsome II

Northwestern · CB · Junior

Newsome is a tall, agile cornerback. He played a lot of off coverage in Northwestern’s scheme. He stays crouched in his pedal and is always under control. He’s fluid when he opens up to turn and carry vertical routes. He stays in phase and he can locate/play the ball. He doesn’t have an explosive plant/drive, but he does have the awareness to anticipate throws. He has excellent instincts versus the run and pass. Against the run, he will hang on blocks too long at times, but he is a solid tackler once he frees himself. I expect Newsome to develop into a reliable starting cornerback very early in his NFL career.

The Colts have a significant hole at starting outside cornerback, as veteran starters Xavier Rhodes (30) and T.J. Carrie (30) are both free agents. Even if either (or both) is (are) re-signed, the Colts still have a need to get younger at the position entirely—as both Rhodes and Carrie are ‘getting a little bit long in the tooth’ age-wise regardless.

Second-year cornerback Rock Ya-Sin had his fair share of struggles last season and can’t be safely penciled into a starting spot (but not completely written off either), while fellow would-be ‘sophomore’ cornerback Marvell Tell sat out the entirety of this past season as a COVID-19 precaution.

Newsome, along with South Carolina’s Jaycee Horn, could be top cornerback prospects that the Colts could highly consider with the 21st overall selection—if the team doesn’t ultimately trade down from the spot:

Newsome is long with athleticism—featuring ball skills and is a willing defender against the run. He was highly productive at Northwestern and fits what the Colts typically covet at the cornerback position regarding their ideal prototype.

It also helps he’s adept in zone coverage—which the Colts frequently deploy.

Given the talent, natural fit, positional need—and Indianapolis’ underlying interest, Newsome’s definitely a top cornerback prospect to watch ahead of late April’s NFL Draft: