Tampa Bay Buccaneers The Northwestern product has been steadily rising up draft boards and seems to be a consensus first-round pick as the 2021 NFL Draft draws closer. Carmen Vitali
Name: Greg Newsome II
NFL Grade: 6.40 (will be starter within first two seasons)
Stats: Newsome grew up in the Chicago suburbs but was a three-star recruit coming out of IMG Academy in Bradenton after attending the local high school for his senior year. He committed to Northwestern going back home to Chicago where he earned a starting role within his first season, appearing in six games and starting four of them in 2018. Newsome missed a few games with injury but came back for the latter part of the season and recorded three tackles and a pass breakup in the Holiday Bowl. In 2019, he led the Wildcats with 11 pass breakups despite missing the final part of the season with injury.
In 2020, Newsome played in the latter six games of the season, racking up 10 passes defensed and an interception before suffering a groin injury in the Big Ten championship game against Ohio State that kept him out of Northwestern's win over the Auburn Tigers in the Citrus Bowl.
Comments: Newsome looks great in man coverage despite lacking a little bit in size. He's still a long corner that has drawn comparisons to Malcolm Butler for the way he disrupts the pass. He's shown he can make up for missteps with his speed, too, and is lauded for his competitive nature, according to both Chad Reuter and Lance Zierlein of NFL.com
"Long-limbed cornerback with angular frame and disruptive size and strength," wrote Zierlein. "Newsome is well-versed in Cover 3, quarters coverage and press man. He's equally adept at each, too. It's hard to get a gauge on his overall long speed, as most of the throws his way were underneath, but it's worth noting that he's above average with ball tracking and body positioning to defend the deep throw. While the takeaway totals are nothing special, his length, timing and sheer competitiveness make tape study of the contested catches he's allowed for completions a very short watch. He has the footwork and skill level to cover downfield without getting into receivers prematurely, but for now, those pass interference penalties from press-man are a concern. Newsome is a competitive, scheme-diverse outside cornerback with good size, speed and explosiveness. He has the talent to become a good starter within his first two seasons.
The Buccaneers have their secondary starters intact from their 2020 Super Bowl season but could always use some depth at the position. It would be a best-case scenario with Newsome able to develop more before getting into the rotation. He's be a great complement on the outside to either of the Bucs' starting corners. With Zierlein saying that most of the throws he defended were underneath, it's likely he could play the slot but his strengths seem to lie in tracking and defending the deep ball. 'Scheme-diverse' should be music to Bucs fans' ears because of the hybrid scheme Tampa Bay fields on defense and in the back level. Newsome's intellect and tape study would surely help him fit right in, too.
The question remains if Newsome would even be available to the Buccaneers at the end of the first round. With all 22 starters from the Bucs' Super Bowl team set to begin the 2021 season, the Bucs have the luxury of being able to take the best player that falls to them. They don't need to be thinking about trading up or perhaps even targeting a certain player when all they're doing is drafting for depth at this point. It's an excellent position to be in.