2021 NFL Draft Rookie Profile: Dazz Newsome (Fantasy Football)
The University of North Carolina probably doesn’t jump to mind when listing the top NFL talent-producing college football programs. Yet four Tar Heels are set to be selected in the 2021 NFL Draft on the offensive side of the ball alone. It makes sense, considering North Carolina had an extremely powerful offense in 2020. They posted the ninth-most points/game (41.7), the fifth-most offensive yards/game (537.3), and the fourth-most yards/play (7.6) in all of college football last season. Lead writer Matthew Betz has already profiled Javonte Williams, Michael Carter, and Dyami Brown in our Rookie Profile series. Now I’ll round out the UNC prospects with a look at wide receiver Dazz Newsome.
Editors Note: This article is part of our Rookie Profile series going on until the 2021 NFL Draft. For more on each rookie, check out Andy, Mike, and Jason’s exclusive rookie rankings and production profiles found only in the Dynasty Pass, part of the brand-new UDK+ for 2021.
College Production Profile
Newsome was a stud that played all over the field on both sides of the ball in high school. A four-star recruit, he received several scholarship offers before eventually choosing to attend North Carolina.
He was able to get on the field right away, playing in eight games as a true freshman. He came into his own as a sophomore, leading UNC in receptions and going for the second-most receiving yards on the team. His best season came as a junior when he and sophomore Dyami Brown each topped 1,000 receiving yards. His yardage took a downturn as a senior but his 54 receptions were just one behind Brown for the team lead. He finished his career with an impressive streak of catching at least one pass in 41 consecutive games.
The Tar Heels utilized Newsome in a variety of ways. He was primarily used in the slot but was also sent all over formations with a variety of pre-snap motions that even occasionally put him in the backfield at the snap. He added 178 yards and two scores on the ground over his college career. He was also the team’s primary punt returner throughout his college career, which included taking a return all the way to the house during his senior season.
|Height||Weight||40-yard dash||Vertical Jump||Broad Jump||247 Sports|
Like so many other wideouts in the 2021 class, Newsome is a bit undersized by NFL standards, at least when it comes to his height. He does, however, fill out his frame nicely at a solid 190 pounds.
His 4.59 second 40-yard dash time won’t turn any heads but Newsome admitted after UNC’s pro day that he’s “not really a testing guy”. That makes sense because he certainly showed plenty of speed in his game film. While he’s not the most impressive athlete in the class, nothing in Newsome’s physical profile will hold him back at the next level.
What’s on Tape
Games Viewed: Clemson (2019), Notre Dame (2020), Virginia Tech (2020), Wake Forrest (2020), Syracuse (2020)
1. Newsome is almost always moving.
I mean this in two ways. First, from an offensive strategy point of view, Newsome was frequently sent in pre-snap motion and is often running full-speed horizontally at the snap of the ball. Whether on tap passes, which we’ve seen grow in popularity in the NFL recently, or orbit motion to the backfield, the Tar Heels used motion to scheme the ball into Newsome’s hands. The clip below is an example of him taking a swing pass from orbit motion into the end zone. This play technically went down as a rush because the ball was thrown backward.
The other meaning of his constant movement is to describe how he plays after the snap. Whether or not he’s the first read, he’s running his routes at full speed. He doesn’t give one bump and be done when asked to block on runs or screens. He continues his blocks downfield or looks for somebody else to pick up. He’s a great example of a player that plays until the echo of the whistle. When the play is over, he’s often the first run running over to his teammate to celebrate.
2. He plays bigger than his size
Newsome doesn’t play like a 5’10” wideout. He’s an above-average blocker that has no problem mixing it up with larger defenders. On film, it appears that he enjoys blocking, which is rare to find in a wideout.
His speed is a great trait in the open field, but he also regularly runs through arm tackles and finishes runs with power. His combination of speed and power makes him one of the better run-after-catch prospects in the class. He also does a great job of hanging on to the ball and completing catches through contact.
3. Great concentration at the catch point
Newsome’s sure-handedness is one of his best attributes. There’s no shortage of highlight-reel catches on his film and you’d be hard-pressed to find a clip of him dropping a catchable pass. The following clip from the Orange Bowl, where Newsome fights off a defender and stays focused on the batted ball before he secures it in the corner of the endzone, is just one of many examples I noted of Newsome completing difficult catches with a defender draped all over him.
What’s NOT on Tape
1. Using technique to gain separation.
Newsome does some awesome things with the ball in his hands but it gets to him by scheme more often than it does by him winning a route. Defensive backs are going to be considerably more difficult for him to beat at the professional level. He needs to improve the technical side of his game in order to become a full-time player in the NFL.
2. Regular usage as a deep threat.
While he’d occasionally get behind the defense for a huge play, most of Newsome’s catches in college came closer to the line of scrimmage. It probably didn’t help that he was on the field alongside Dyami Brown, who was North Carolina’s top deep threat and averaged over 20 yards/reception over the last two seasons. Newsome can hit the occasional home run, but it isn’t a primary feature of his game.
2021 Fantasy Outlook
Newsome is most likely to get selected on the third day of the NFL draft. He won’t walk into a starting role on an NFL team, but he should have no problem making a roster. If he’s fantasy relevant in 2021 it probably won’t happen early on in the season. He isn’t worth much consideration on draft day in redraft leagues but should be on managers’ radar as the season progresses.
In dynasty leagues, Newsome is a safe late-round pick in rookie drafts. His experience on special teams gives him a great chance to stick on an NFL roster. His high motor play style and willingness to block should earn him points from his future NFL coaching staff. He may never become a stud WR1 in fantasy football but possesses all the traits of a reliable PPR receiver.