Greg Newsome II has all the physical traits you could want from a cornerback: he clocked a 4.38 40-yard dash at Northwestern’s pro day on Tuesday and cleared 40 inches in the vertical leap. However, he’s had trouble staying healthy, missing at least one game in each of his three seasons in Evanston.
He had surgery before the 2020 season began and missed the first two games, then exited again during the Big Ten Championship game and missed the Citrus Bowl as well.
After the Wildcats season ended, Newsome began training with EXOS in Phoenix, Ariz. He’s focused on building his strength before the draft. He wants to improve his durability without sacrificing his speed.
“[I’m] not necessarily putting on too much weight and getting slower, but [also] not being too light and not being strong enough,” Newsome said.
Though he’s mild-mannered off the field, Newsome throws that out the window once the pads come on.
“I flip the switch. I’m a competitor, I hate to lose,” Newsome said. “That’s a reason why I play so hard.”
Newsome ranks behind cornerbacks like Caleb Farley, Patrick Surtain II, Jaycee Horn and Asante Samuel Jr. on most mock drafts, and he plays with a chip on his shoulder because of it.
“I was slept on, and I still think I am,” Newsome said. “When a team drafts me, they’re gonna get the best corner in the country. I don’t take that lightly.”
Newsome said his versatility is a reason he thinks he should be the first corner off the board.
“I can play man, I can play zone, I can do it all,” Newsome said. “The way I played this season, I was not okay with letting guys catch the football.”
Newsome recorded nine pass breakups and one interception in six games during the 2020 season.
Though he impressed physically at his pro day, Newsome emphasized the importance of the mental side of football as well, praising 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman for his savviness and focus on film study.
Though the Steelers could be in the market for a corner with Mike Hilton and Steven Nelson having departed, Newsome didn’t mention them specifically as one of the teams he’s communicated with. Newsome said he’s talked with the Patriots, Broncos, Browns and Packers, along with “a majority of the teams.”
Just weeks from reaching his NFL dreams, Newsome exudes confidence. His family keeps him focused.
“That’s another reason I play the way I do, so I can repay them in the future and make their lives a lot easier,” Newsome said.