CB Greg Newsome II, Northwestern* (6’0”, 192)
Recorded 23 tackles and four breakups over six games as a freshman, then 36 tackles and nine breakups the following year over eight games. Missed the beginning and end of this past year due to other injuries but managed to finish with twelve tackles, seven breakups, and his sole career interception before declaring for the draft.
Height and length are in line with what teams look for in a boundary cornerback. Was asked to play some different techniques in college, ranging from bail to shuffle to off-man. Shows quick, controlled footwork to match releases at the line of scrimmage. Athletic ability is very good; has the speed to take snaps near the line of scrimmage without fear of being beat over the top. Looks twitchy with quick reaction times when breaking to cover slants and other crossing patterns. Plant-and-drive is smooth and explosive. Has a lanky build but is willing to get physical and use his length to try and pin opponents to the sideline when playing on the short side. Shows the ability to locate over his shoulder and use his length and athleticism to make plays on the ball. Plays with the competitiveness and confidence of a high-end cornerback. Put together a very impressive workout during the pre-draft process which has catapulted him into the first-round conversation, running a 4.39 in the forty while adding a 6.9 second cone drill and a 40” vertical.
Has played in just seventeen career college games and recorded just one career interception. Didn’t see him doing too much work in zone coverage and looked more comfortable in man. On the thin side and contact balance in the run game didn’t look very good, so it’s possible he could be bullied a little bit at the next level, at least earlier in his career. Likes to come up and support the run but doesn’t always use proper technique. Combination of thinner frame and injury history have raised concerns about his durability which will likely affect his draft stock to some extent.
A prospect who has the right mentality for the position and offers a tantalizing combination of length, speed, quickness, and explosiveness which could make him a very effective man-cover cornerback at the pro level, but who teams may worry will struggle to stay healthy given his previous injury history, lanky build, and physical style of play. It’s entirely possible that a team which feels comfortable with those risks will select him in the first round of the draft.