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NFL Draft

2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: WR Dazz Newsome

  • The Draft Network
  • December 31, 2020
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North Carolina wide receiver Dazz Newsome enjoyed a productive four-year career for the Tar Heels and improved every season in college. Despite a loaded group of skill players, Newsome still collected 126 catches for 1,702 yards and 16 touchdowns across the last two seasons at North Carolina with Newsome primarily operating from the slot, where he projects best at the next level. Newsome is a good route-runner with excellent separation quickness, has terrific hands, outstanding ball skills, and is a fearless competitor. He’s excellent at creating yards after the catch and is truly a threat to all levels of the field. When it comes to areas where Newsome can develop, expanding his route tree and adding more variance to his release package stand out. In addition, improving his functional strength to hold up better as a route-runner when challenged with contact would be helpful. Newsome has the ability to be a featured slot receiver in the NFL that brings additional value in the return game, as he is a proven punt returner. 

Ideal Role: Starting slot receiver and punt returner.

Scheme Fit: West Coast, 11-personnel heavy.


Written by Joe Marino 

Games watched: Duke (2019), Clemson (2019), Pittsburgh (2019), Virginia Tech (2019), Syracuse (2020), Notre Dame (2020), Wake Forest (2020), Virginia Tech (2020) 

Best Game Studied: Wake Forest (2020) 

Worst Game Studied: Clemson (2019) 

Route Running: Operating primarily from the slot for North Carolina, Newsome ran a limited route tree in college but he is effective at challenging all three levels of the field. He can uncover quickly and is lethal on option routes. He generates strong vertical push, knows how to stack corners and create leverage down the field. He also demonstrates the ability to adjust on the fly and attack space in zone coverage. Newsome has some challenges when contact is introduced early in routes or at the top of route stems—I want to see him anticipate that better and be more deliberate about reducing his surface area to stay clear of hand checks. The routes he is proven at are primarily outs, whips, posts, slot fades, and go balls.

Hands: Newsome’s hands are plucky and he has no issues snatching the football outside his frame and scooping out low throws. There are plenty of reps that show him firmly holding onto the football through contact and his concentration is strong. While he has an occasional drop, it’s not been a prominent issue and he was very consistent in 2020. 

Separation: Newsome has terrific separation quickness, fluidity in and out of his breaks, and deception to set up those breaks. He’s routinely able to get behind the secondary and create opportunities to push the ball down the field. His ability to win deep sets up opportunities to snap off routes and work the intermediate areas of the field. In both 2019 and 2020, Newsome was open far more frequently than he was targeted. 

Release Package: Newsome operates almost exclusively from the slot, which avoids press coverage situations where the corner can play right on top of him. With that said, there are still too many reps where he gets hung on contact and needs to be more deliberate about his angles, reducing his surface area, and getting his hands involved early in routes to clear contact. Newsome is quick and fluid releasing out of his stance but there is some room for technical growth here.  

Run After Catch: Newsome is highly competitive with the ball in his hands. He’s decisive, slippery, quick after the catch, and he’s capable of creating for himself. His skill set demands manufactured touches that give him chances to create in space. 

Ball Skills: Newsome is not afraid to work the middle of the field and he has terrific sideline skills on account of his body control and strong ball skills. He does well to track the football over his shoulder, adjust, and carry speed to and through the football on go balls. He rarely misplays the football and his quarterback never hesitated to throw the ball into space and trust that Newsome will make a play on the football. 

Football IQ: Newsome’s ability to be a threat to all levels of the field and create space for himself speaks to his feel for the game. He’s been a steady contributor for four seasons at North Carolina, demonstrating incremental growth in every season. Newsome has excellent spatial awareness and never looks calculated. 

Versatility: Newsome is likely a slot-only receiver in the NFL—where he played almost exclusively in college. He has experience as a kick returner, but most of his return experience is as a punt returner. For his career returning punts, Newsome has fielded 104 punts—54 of those were fair catches and 50 were returned for an average of 10.7 yards/return with one touchdown and one muff. Newsome is a competitive blocker but lacks the functional strength to be a standout.  

Competitive Toughness: Newsome is a tough dude. He has a modest frame but he’s more than willing to block and be physical with the ball in his hands, finishing runs and putting his body on the line for extra yards. He plays with a hot motor and brings plenty of juice to the table. I love the way he competes for the ball in the air and is willing to play above his weight class. 

Big-Play Ability: Newsome’s average yards per reception doesn’t scream big-play threat, but that’s because he gets targets at all levels of the field. But as a slot, most of them are within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage. He has a strong vertical receiving skill set and can create for himself after the catch in addition to being a legitimate threat as a punt returner. 

Prospect Comparison: KJ Osbourn (2020 NFL Draft, Minnesota Vikings) 


TDN Consensus: 70.83/100

Joe Marino: 70.00/100

Kyle Crabbs: 72.50/100

Jordan Reid: NA/100

Drae Harris: 70.00/100

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