The Indianapolis Colts selected Ball State defensive end Jonathan Newsome with the 166th pick in the NFL Draft.
Newsome is undersized for a defensive end, weighing just 247-pounds. He will likely transition to outside linebacker, but he’s still underweight for that position as well. He played both positions for Ball State and his versatility will be valuable to the Colts.
Newsome finished last season with eight sacks, 11.5 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, and an interception. Newsome had 16.5 sacks over the past two seasons.
He was All-MAC First Team in 2013. Newsome shares a lot of traits with Robert Mathis, in fact, former Colts GM Bill Polian said he saw flashes of Mathis in Newsome (minus the speed). Take that with a grain of salt as Polian drafted Jerry Hughes, who also had ‘Mathis-like ability.’
Newsome’s strengths lie in rushing the passer and can do it standing up or from a three point, in-line stance. He has a quick first step and can burn his blocker off the line with a variety of moves. Newsome can also switch to power moves and bull rush his man on the way to the quarterback. He also has a tendency to go for the strip when sacking the quarterback, a trait that is greatly appreciated in Indianapolis.
While he is great at getting to QBs, his skills against the run leave something to be desired. Newsome showed flashes of being a solid edge defender, but only when he could rely on his quickness. Once a blocker latches onto him on a run play, its over for Newsome.
He was originally enrolled at Ohio State, but left after the tattoo scandal that resulted in coach Jim Tressel being fired. Newsome was also arrested in August of 2012 for marijuana possession and suspended for two games.
Newsome needs to refine his skill set and has a perfect mentor in Mathis. He will likely need to find his place on the roster through special teams for now.
There is a good chance the Newsome would have been available later, but outside linebacker is an area of need. The Colts still need to find some help in the secondary and have just two picks left to do it.