Prospect for the Pack: Northwestern CB Greg Newsome II

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Brandon Carwile
·4 min read
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The Green Bay Packers will enter the 2021 NFL draft hoping to find a few more valuable pieces to add to an otherwise talented roster after winning 26 regular-season games and making the NFC Championship Game in back-to-back seasons under coach Matt LaFleur.

Between now and the draft, Packers Wire will periodically break down one top prospect capable of landing in Green Bay later this month.

Up next is Northwestern cornerback Greg Newsome:

What he can do

– Cover. This seems pretty obvious, but this is one of the best cover corners in the entire draft. Can mirror whoever is across from him off the line of scrimmage and use his feet to stay with shifty route runners

– Very fluid movements when flipping hips and breaking on the ball out of his backpedal. Closing speed is one of his most attractive traits

– Can recover in situations where he makes a false step or gets off balance

– Successful in both man and zone. Allowed 31.6% completion rate and just 7.8 yards per catch in 2020, according to Pro Football Focus

– Pretty good ball skills. Uses length to prevent passes from reaching the intended receiver. Can high-point the ball and challenge receivers in the air while maintaining body control. Decent hands to make the most of turnover opportunities

– Strong mental processor when it comes to reading coverages and taking correct angles. Rarely fooled by double moves and uses instincts to get in good position

– Aggressor when necessary. Understands how to play in press and knows when to attack the ball to try and make a big play

– Adequate play strength

– Solid arm length despite a slight frame. Long arms help when breaking up passes and jamming receivers while pressing

– Willing tackler who can use length to separate from blocks. Drops weight and finishes. Takes good angles when the ball is in front of him and does a nice job wrapping up

– Prototypical outside corner due to his size and athleticism. Will never be overwhelmed by height or quickness

How he fits

If Newsome somehow falls to 29, the Packers would have a hard time passing him up. He’s the perfect corner to pair with Jaire Alexander thanks to his size and coverage ability. Think of a taller Alexander, basically. However, Newsome still has a way to go to be a long-term starter. He has injury concerns, and Green Bay is trying to move away from that in Kevin King. However, when healthy, you can’t argue with Newsome’s performance on the field. He’s a true outside corner and could possibly allow Alexander to kick inside next season with Newsome and King playing the boundary. The Packers need another corner with solid ball skills and is a willing tackler, and that fits Newsome to the T. He’s an all-around corner with a high floor and the potential to be a franchise corner. With Newsome and Alexander as the future, Green Bay’s secondary would have a dynamic corner tandem that’s been lacking since the days of Charles Woodson and Tramon Williams.

NFL Comp

Somewhere along the lines of William Jackson and Darius Slay. Both Jackson and Slay have the ability to match the movement of quick receivers and also play with taller, more physical ones. Like Jackson and Slay, Newsome is comfortable operating out of press and can make plays as a tackler. It all comes down to his durability and how a team maximizes his strengths in their scheme. At his core, Newsome has a natural feel in coverage, just like Jackson and Slay.

Where Packers could get him

It would have to be in the first, and it may even require a trade up. Every team is looking for a sticky corner that can lock down any side of the field, and Newsome has that potential. Newsome might be CB3 in this draft behind Jaycee Horn and Patrick Surtain. Caleb Fairley is also in the discussion, but like Newsome, he has injury baggage. If Newsome slips into the 20s, maybe Green Bay puts a package together to try and move up to take him.

Highlights

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