It is no secret the Houston Texans need to add some depth and improved play at cornerback this offseason. When looking to the 2021 NFL Draft in the upcoming months one player to watch is Greg Newsome II of Northwestern University.
Playing in the Big Ten against some top prospects the past three years has helped Newsome become prepared for the transition to the NFL. The issue about Newsome for the Houston Texans could be whether he’s available when their pick arrives in the third round at 67th overall. To get a player like Newsome, the Texans might have to trade up into the second round.
Newsome the past three seasons has vastly improved his play, and that’s evident by his Pro Football Focus grades improving each season. In 2018 Newsome had a grade of 53.3 following a season of 374 snaps played. In 2019, Newsome played 480 snaps, earning a grade of 62.9 by PFF. Then in 2020 Newsome played in 387 snaps (as the Big Ten season was shortened) for a grade of 79.8, the best grade of his collegiate career.
Newsome is 6’1” and weighs 190 pounds, and this past season with Northwestern he totaled 12 tackles (eight solo), with nine passes defensed and one interception.
Lia Assimakopoulos and Colin Kruse of Inside NU wrote the following about Newsome after he earned All-American honors this past season, showing how good of a defender Newsome has become while at Northwestern:
"“The Chicago native played in five games this season did not allow a third-down completion (0-for-9) during the regular season and ranked first among cornerbacks in the conference for completion percentage at 31.6%.”"
Newsome’s lone interception of the season came against the Wisconsin Badgers on Nov. 21, which was a 17-7 win by the NU. In that game Newsome also had two passes defensed.
In his final four games played at Northwestern, Newsome had no less than two passes defensed per game, including three against Nebraska on Nov. 7.
The last full season played by Newsome was 2019 when as a sophomore he collected 28 solo tackles with one fumble recovery, and 11 passes defensed.
Houston Texans Draft: Greg Newsome would improve the defense
If the Houston Texans want to add Greg Newsome to their roster in 2021 they might have to trade up into the second round. In a mock draft by Sports Illustrated this week they have Newsome being drafted 43rd overall (Round 2) to the San Francisco 49ers.
Earlier this month PFF had Newsome as the 60th best player in the 2021 NFL Draft, but again, where would Newsome fit within the Texans defense?
Newsome would immediately help the secondary of the Houston Texans because he would already become one of the better players on the unit.
Houston’s secondary this past season wasn’t the best, and there is still a lot of learning to be had. Newsome would work out well for the Texans as he would bring competition to the unit.
This past season the cornerbacks for the Texans were: Vernon Hargreaves III, John Reid, Cornell Armstrong, Gareon Conley, Bradley Roby, Phillip Gaines, and Keion Crossen.
Those players are talented in their own right, and have earned the right to play for a spot on the Texans roster, but there is no doubt cornerback is a team need this offseason. Newsome would make earning a roster spot tougher, which is what the Houston Texans need. The entire defense of the Texans needs more competition for spots earned.
Conley, Hargreaves, and Gaines are all free agents this offseason, so one way or another the addition of Newsome would be very helpful to the Texans, especially if none of the above return for the 2021 season.
Anyway the roster is looked at this offseason, adding to the secondary is a big need for the Houston Texans. Doing so by the draft might have some issues early on in the rebuilding process of the secondary, but the final product would make for a better overall unit than what was on the field this past season.