The Colts took a flier in the 5th round of the 2014 NFL Draft on Ball State OLB/DE Jonathan Newsome, my next featured IDP breakout. Newsome is a lengthy and athletic edge rusher, very instinctive on the field and his last two years at Ball State he recorded 116 total tackles and 16.5 sacks. He’s pretty much just what the Colts needed and little did they know they’d need Newsome earlier than expected as veteran OLB Robert Mathis suffered a torn achilles and would miss the rest of the 2014 season.
Although the Colts lost their best pass rusher in Mathis, the team used its depth to try and fill in the void with Mathis gone. With Bjoern Werner (has yet to reach whatever potential they saw in him) and Walden (seemed like a prized FA signing a couple years ago for Irsay, I beg to differ though) but then came Newsome, who knew he’d get some playing time prior to Mathis’s injury because he was suspended for the first 4 games anyway. Jonathan emerged from the pack, but it wasn’t easy as any rookie would. He had early season struggles and getting adjusted to the speed of the game.
As Newsome got comfortable, he was able to showcase what he’s capable of. He ended the season leading the Colts in sacks (7) and second among rookies, right behind Aaron Donald (9). He has oozing potential entering 2015 and is definitely in the Colts’ plans. Who else is going to get after the QB? Even though Newsome graded poorly on PFF (Pro Football Focus), there’s promise as he got 16 QB hurries and 5 QB hits in rotational snaps (531 total snaps, 41 percent of snaps) and started week 17 and the AFC championship game against the Patriots. A majority of his snaps came at the ROLB position and will look to continue to line up on that side in 2015.
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IDP impact 2015: Even with the addition of veteran Trent Cole, you can never have too many pass rushers and another question asked is “how much longer is Mathis going to play?” Throw in Walden and Werner and that’s where Newsome may lose some value as this looks like a rotational situation. There are a few positives for Newsome that you should keep notes on, neither of these OLBs posses the athleticism that Newsome brings to the field and in hybrid packages there’s a possibility that Cole and Mathis both line up as DE which would open the door to Newsome staying on the edge. Regardless of the situation, a talent like Newsome will be tough for the Colts too sit. So as long as he reaches at least 70 percent of the snaps we’re looking at a solid LB4 with LB3 upside and LB2 upside in big play leagues (sack dependent). He’s definitely on the rise and if you have any questions, go watch the game against Denver.
Future Forecast: 55 tackles and 11 sacks – IDP Profile match would be Julius Peppers in Green Bay.