Former Ball State defensive end Jonathan Newsome is now an Indianapolis Colt after being selected by them in the fifth round of the 2014 NFL Draft.
Newsome, a 6-foot-3, 247 pound defensive end/linebacker, was stud on the Ball State Cardinals' defensive line for the past two seasons, and will likely be utilized as an outside linebacker with the Colts
To say Newsome's past is interesting, would be a bit of an understatement. In 2009 Newsome, a 3-star DE recruit out of Cleveland's Glenville High School, signed with Ohio State. He was a top 20 recruit in the state of Ohio, and considered a top 25 defensive end prospect in his nation.
Newsome spent two seasons at Ohio State as a linebacker, playing sparingly due to the Buckeyes loaded linebacker corps, but academic issues forced him to sit out the team's spring practices and he eventually transferred to Ball State where he sat out the 2011 season.
A fresh change of scenery didn't lead to necessarily great results in the beginning. Newsome had to sit out the first two games of the 2012 season after getting arrested for marijuana possession, and a run in with the cops for trying to steal boner pills (I told you this was interesting). But after those issues got cleared up and Newsome finally stepped foot on a football field for the Cardinals, it was all business.
In 11 games Newsome earned his way onto the All-MAC second team honors list with 12.5 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks, showing off the potential that made him a Buckeye a few years earlier. He followed it up this past season by earning All-MAC first team honors by racking up 11.5 tackles for loss and eight sacks while facing increased double teams from opposing offenses.
At the NFL Combine Newsome was one of the members of the defensive line/linebacker corps who had noticeably good showing in the drills, despite not wowing anyone with his measurables. Warren Sapp even commented about Newsome earning himself some money on the day.
More On Newsome
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NFL COMBINE RESULTS:
ARM LENGTH: 33 1.4''
40-YARD DASH: 4.73 sec
3-CONE DRILL: 7.31 sec
VERTICAL JUMP: 34''
BROAD JUMP: 117''
BENCH PRESS: 21 reps
Part of what makes Newsome so productive off the edge is his explosive first step. He takes long strides when coming off the edge, and uses his speed to beat offensive lineman. He's got a good set of moves, and can shed blocks with the right combination of speed and moves. Newsome also shows great flashes of athleticism when dropping into coverage. He knows how to take good pursuit angles, and due to his quickness can get depth quickly in coverage. Tackling wise, Newsome wraps up clean, and explodes into his point of contact.
But Newsome has some weaknesses and limits to his game. He's not as strong as he should be, and if he isn't able to beat the offensive lineman on the edge, he tends to get hammered by bigger and stronger tackles and guards. And while he did have some experience dropping back into coverage, he's far from an ideal 3-4 outside linebacker. His hips were noticeably stiff at the NFL Combine when he was doing linebacker drills, which hampers his solid instincts. He's also not the best in coverage.