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2021 NFL Draft Scouting Spotlight: Northwestern CB Greg Newsome II

A corner the Bills may love could be available at pick 30

The 2021 NFL Draft is just over one week away. Since the college football and NFL seasons have ended, certain players have been “rising” and “falling” within the media’s perception of draft boards as we head into the home stretch of April.

As the Buffalo Bills search to upgrade at the opposite outside corner position across from Tre’Davious White, one name seems to be rising as much as any. Greg Newsome, a 6’ corner hailing from Chicago, Illinois, is making headway into the first round in recent weeks. The Northwestern star is as feisty as they come in pass coverage and run support.


CB Greg Newsome II (Northwestern) Scouting Report

Measurables: 6’0” 192 lbs
2020 stats: 12 total tackles, one interception, nine passes defended
Year: Junior
Pro day testing: 4.37 40-yard dash, 40” vertical jump, 10’3” broad jump, 6.94 three-cone, 4.28 short shuttle, 18 bench press reps

Summary

Newsome backed up his outstanding coverage skills on the football field with a strong seal of approval at his pro day in the pre-draft process. Newsome has battled some injuries over the course of his career, never playing a complete season without missing games through three years at Northwestern. He is a highly competitive, physical player with the fluidity necessary to be a very impactful outside corner in the NFL. Despite limited ball production (one interception) over the course of his career, Newsome’s ball skills stand out for his ability to rise up and play through the catch point against receivers of all shapes and sizes. He brings the exact mentality you look for in a corner coupling confidence with smooth athleticism and football IQ. This is a first-round corner in every sense.

Strengths

  • Clean, fluid footwork to mirror receivers
  • Refuses to over-pedal as receiver releases off the line
  • Off-man is no issue; never looks uncomfortable in having to trail or mirror
  • Uses his physicality to his advantage in squeezing receivers to the sideline
  • Incredibly intelligent football player
  • Understands zone spacing and consistently reads who is in his zone while glancing to the backfield
  • Plays through the catch point and is constantly looking to attack the ball
  • Plus click-and-close to transition from bail to screaming downhill and competing
  • Plenty of repetitions in multiple coverages (press and off-man as well as half-man and bail-technique in zone)
  • Willing, feisty participant in run support

Weaknesses

  • Just one interception in his career at Northwestern
  • Durability has been a concern missing games in each of the past three seasons
  • While a feisty competitor, there are some reps of boredom when he is not challenged for long periods that can lead to sloppy reps
  • Newsome has some problems overcommitting in flipping his hips that can allow receivers to get into his blind spot

Draft projection: Mid to late first round


Why he fits the Bills

The second cornerback spot is a position of need for the Bills despite bringing multi-year starter Levi Wallace back on a cheap one-year deal. Newsome offers an alpha mentality that general manager Brandon Beane, head coach Sean McDermott, and the staff are destined to love if he falls to pick 30. It’s fair to assume by now that the Bills want their corners to be willing tacklers. Ankle biters or timid tacklers at the position are much more frowned upon than some may believe. Newsome brings that run support tenacity as well as plenty of experience in a zone-heavy attack at Northwestern with the athletic talent to play regular snaps in man coverage.

After a grouping of Patrick Surtain II, Jaycee Horn, Caleb Farley, and Newsome, there is a fairly large-sized drop off in value at the position. If Beane wants Newsome, he just may have to trade up after the junior blew up his pro day in front of numerous NFL coaches, scouts, and general managers. If the Bills want to add a competitor with the ability to be an instant impact at outside corner, Newsome could be the man for the job in the first round.