I’ll admit I was getting worried when the Bears had arrived to the sixth round without taking a receiver.
It’s not that I didn’t like their first four picks. Justin Fields and Teven Jenkins were gimmes. Larry Borom was a sensible selection given the need to add depth and the player’s prospect pedigree. Even Justin Herbert made sense on some level. But still … the Bears had a need at receiver that hadn’t been addressed. So it was good to see them do it in Round 6. And pretty neat that Newsome was their guy.
Newsome checks boxes for Matt Nagy’s offense. His game speed looks faster than his timed speed, which was in the 4.5s. And that game speed shows up when he has the ball in the open field. Phil Longo’s offense at Carolina sprinkled in screens, jet sweeps, and deep targets in a scheme that allowed Newsome to tap into his athleticism at a highly productive level.
Soon, it will be Nagy’s turn.
THE PICK (ROUND 6, PICK 221)
• Name: Dazz Newsome (21)
• College: North Carolina
• Position: Wide receiver, punt returner
• Measurements: 5-10, 190 pounds, 29 7/8-inch arms, 9-inch hands
STATS TO KNOW
• 2020 stats: 12 games, 54 catches, 784 yards, 6 touchdowns; 2 rushes, 21 yards, 1 TD; 17 punt returns, 168 yards (9.9 yards/return)
• Career stats: 43 games, 188 catches, 2,435 yards, 18 touchdowns; 20 carries, 178 yards 2 TD; 48 punt returns, 535 yards, 1 TD (11.1 yards/return)
• Accomplishments: All-ACC Honorable Mention (2020), Second-team All-ACC (2019)
• Position ranking: 41st (ESPN), 37th (Pro Football Focus), 29th (The Draft Network), 32nd (Pro Football Network)
THREE STRENGTHS (FROM NFL.COM’s DRAFT PROFILE)
• “Won’t back down and willing to work into the middle of the field.” … A willingness to go across the middle could be something that separates him from others.
• “Could offer immediate help as punt returner.” … After losing Tarik Cohen to a season-ending injury while fielding a punt, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Bears aren’t rushing to put someone that important to their offense immediately back in the line of fire.
• “Runs with unbridled excitement after the catch.” … This just sounds fun.
THREE WEAKNESSES (FROM NFL.COM’S DRAFT PROFILE)
• “Reliant upon energy over technique as a route runner. … Too much wasted motion and energy in route fakes..” … These two feel like they work hand-in-hand. Being reliant on energy to run good routes while wasting energy in route fakes seems like a bad combination.
• “Stems and breaks need to become much more crisp.” … It’s as if there was a reason a player with Newsome’s explosiveness fell to Round 6.
• “Not a natural hands catcher.” … This is something that figures to give us fits. WRs Coach Mike Furrey has his work cut out for him once he gets his hands on Newsome.
NFL.COM COMPARISON: Russell Gage
WHERE NEWSOME FITS
When the Newsome pick flashed on my screen, my mind immediately went to Newsome jumping in as a return specialist in Chicago. Not only does he have ample experience as a punt returner, he looks darn good while doing it:
— Stadium (@Stadium) October 21, 2018
Being able to help on special teams upon arrival is a good start. But in addition to the third phase help, I think Nagy could make Newsome a gadget player early in his playing career. Getting the ball in space by way of end arounds, jet sweeps, and quick screens could be an easy way to get a rookie’s feet wet and maximize his raw talent.
— Rivals (@Rivals) May 3, 2021
New #Bears WR Dazz Newsome's father named him after rapper Daz Dillinger, one of the absolute stars of Snoop Doggy Dogg's "Doggystyle" album way back when. His dad added a second z.
— Patrick Finley (@patrickfinley) May 1, 2021