During a conference call with the media Wednesday, NFL analyst Daniel Jeremiah assessed the prospect he's predicting the Bears will select with the 20th pick in next week's draft: Northwestern cornerback Greg Newsome II.
"He's a really loose, fluid athlete," said Jeremiah, a former NFL scout who works for NFL.com and NFL Network. "His movement stuff is phenomenal. He's got incredible ball skills. He can find and play the ball, which to me is the No. 1 non-negotiable at that position. You've got to be able to find and play the ball and he does that really well.
"The only knock when you watched him on tape was just how much pure juice does he have, how much top speed? He wasn't really challenged vertically in any of the games that I studied. So I was curious about that, and he goes and runs a 4.38 [at Northwestern's Pro Day], so he answered the bell on that one."
Newsome grew up in the Chicago area, attending Glenbard North High School in Carol Stream for three years before transferring to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., as a senior.
After redshirting at Northwestern in 2017, Newsome appeared in 21 games over the past three seasons, registering 71 tackles, one interception and 25 pass breakups. The 6-1, 190-pounder ranked second in the Big Ten with 11 pass breakups in 2019 and led the conference with 10 last year. But he sat out games with injuries in each of his three seasons. Newsome most recently was knocked out of last season's Big Ten championship against Ohio State with a groin injury.
"The one thing in talking to teams they are concerned about—you can put in the negative column—is just he's missed a lot of games," Jeremiah said. "So from the durability standpoint, he gets dinged a little bit. But everything else checks out, and then everything I've heard about the kid, he's a great kid, so you're in good shape there."
In his latest mock draft, Jeremiah also mentions that he thinks the Bears could consider an offensive tackle at No. 20. He's projecting that tackles will be selected by Washington at No. 19 (USC's Alijah Vera-Tucker), the Colts at No. 21 (Virginia Tech's Christian Darrisaw) and the Steelers at No. 24 (Oklahoma State's Teven Jenkins).
Another tackle that Jeremiah is high on is North Dakota State's Dillon Radunz. Jeremiah currently ranks Radunz as the 47th best prospect in the draft but said that he plans to move him up into the early 30s.
"He's really smart and instinctive," Jeremiah said. "He's tough, he's good in the run game, he had a great Senior Bowl week. I could see him maybe going up there a little higher [in the draft] than we initially expected. Now, is that a little early for where the Bears are? Yeah, maybe, maybe try to trade back a little bit. But he's an intriguing player."
With the Bears holding the 20th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, take a look at the players who have been selected No. 20 overall since 2001.