In the fifth round of the 2014 NFL Draft, the Indianapolis Colts decided to take a flier on in-state outside linebacker Jonathan Newsome out of Ball State.
And since his selection, the young man has done nothing but impress.
Newsome’s draft stock lowered dramatically due to some behavioral issues and substance abuse in his days with Ohio State. After a redshirt transfer year at Ball State, Newsome would go on the make the All-Mid-American-Conference first-team in 2013, while also earning MAC West Division Defensive Player of the Week three times.
While he likely won’t start during this season, Newsome will be thrown into a complex pass-rushing situation caused by the four-game suspension of Robert Mathis. OLBs Erik Walden and Bjorn Werner will likely get the nod to start in replacement for the All-Pro, but the new prospect will get thrown into the rotation immediately against Denver.
Many believe that Newsome was selected by the Colts due to his similarity to Mathis on the outside. With roughly the same body type (Newsome has one inch on Mathis), the players play similarly on the outside. Newsome was selected primarily for pass-rushing situations and has the ability to play with his hands on the ground or in the standup “Jack” linebacker position. He has decent ability in drop and flat coverage as well, giving Pagano and Manusky a new diverse tool to use in third-down zone coverage schemes.
A bargain pick in the fifth round is already looking to pay dividends to the Colts who are struggling to maintain depth at the outside linebacker positions after Mathis’ suspension. Newsome offers an injection of young blood to a linebacker core that is always in the need of fresh talent.
It can’t be overlooked that Jonathan Newsome was originally recruited to Ohio State, a school who regularly puts prospects into the NFL. Newsome’s draft stock may have dropped a little bit due to his off-field problems and lesser conference, but he can still be something special on the roster. With the preseason emergence of Andy Studebaker, Newsome’s break into regular playing time may be put on hold, but he’s been impressing in camp. He’s been hanging around Robert Mathis, attempting to soak up as much knowledge as possible from the All-Pro.