1. Greg Newsome II
Not the sexiest, but a promising talent who would be an asset in a secondary that needs some more playmakers (especially long-term), Greg Newsome II should be on Indy’s radar.
This is a deep class for cornerbacks, so Ballard doesn’t need to panic if he misses out on Jaycee Horn, Patrick Surtain II, or Caleb Farley. We already know the Colts met with Asante Samuel Jr., so it’s clear they want to find some defensive back talent before their work is done on draft day.
Let’s start with some negatives regarding Newsome so we can clear everything up. He played in the Big Ten, which isn’t exactly a conference known for its offense. He has just 21 college games under his belt. He’s committed seven pass interference penalties in his last 14 games. His mechanics in man-to-man coverage need some refinement.
But he ran a 4.40 40-yard dash at his pro day. He can rebound in coverage with his speed if he gets beat. He’s 6-foot-1, 190 pounds, and very physical. He’s got plenty of experience in off-man and Cover 3 schemes, which the Colts run frequently. He’s a sure-tackler. He can read routes well.
Those traits certainly make him a good “risk” to take at No. 21. Have him play under Xavier Rhodes and TJ Carrie for a year, learn from their veteran leadership, and hopefully get the necessary experience to provide a 1-2 punch with Rock Ya-Sin in 2022.
The Colts need another playmaking defensive back since their cornerback corps wasn’t great in 2021. Newsome’s athleticism and physicality can change that if he latches on quickly, and he could help plug an important deficiency on a defense that didn’t have too many issues this past season.