INDIANAPOLIS – On Monday, Colts.com took a look at the trio of offensive additions the Colts took in the 2014 NFL Draft.
Today, we take a glance at a pair of defensive choices that will impact the Colts linebackers.
Here’s a look at fifth-round pick Jonathan Newsome and sixth-round selection Andrew Jackson.
Outside Linebacker Jonathan Newsome (Ball State)
-2013 Stats: 12 games played (12 starts).
-Career Stats: 23 games played (22 starts) in two seasons at Ball State. Had 116 tackles, 16.5 sacks and 24.0 tackles for loss.
-Newsome’s Quote to Note: “The Colts have been interested in me for a while now. Actually, they came down to my pro day and I sat down with assistant linebackers coach Brad (White) and we sat down and we talked, and I went up there for a visit maybe a few weeks ago. I met the whole staff and met the GM. Honestly, I told my mom and I told everybody around me that I felt the best vibe when I went to the Indianapolis Colts. I traveled to a few other teams as well. I went to San Fran, I went to New England, I went to Oakland and Tampa and I really liked the vibe around there too but when I went to Indianapolis, it just felt like home, and I was like, ‘Wow, it would be nice to really just stay here and play.’ For that to happen is just surreal. It kind of feels like it didn’t really happen. I’m still trying to soak it in. It’s just a crazy moment, wow.”
-Ryan Grigson’s Thoughts: “Obviously he’s pretty local being a Ball State guy. He helped them achieve a pretty good season this year. So you heard his name and you kept hearing about this pass rusher from Ball State early, even last year some hearing some whispers. Then the Combine, it was one of those things where everyone was a little bit in the doldrums and all of a sudden, he was out there moving around and everyone perked up and we all looked and said, ‘Who’s that?’ That’s when it all started pretty much. Then we start scrutinizing the tape. No one knew where he was going to go, no one knew that much about him. He’s able to rush the passer, one. He can bend the edge. He’s very athletic, and I think Chuck (Pagano) will tell you we feel he has really good position flexibility Rush or Sam (linebacker) because he can really drop, he can really rush. He throws his face in there, he can set the edge some. He’s got to get a little stronger but this guy’s a football player. He had 16 sacks the last two years. He played against some pretty good tackles in (third-round pick) Morgan Moses. I think he had two sacks against him. So he’s done it against some good competition and he can run. He’s a heck of a special teamer, so a lot of value there. We brought him in for our top 30 (visit), spent a lot of time with him. He comes from a football powerhouse in Cleveland and he loves to play the game.”
-Outlook: Robert Mathis just got a new little brother in Newsome. In this league, pass rushers are at a premium (look at Caesar Rayford last preseason) and the Colts are looking to find additional help for Mathis. Special teams is probably going to be Newsome’s first crack at getting on the field but if he shows the ability to get after the quarterback immediately then he might find himself playing some situational football for the Colts defense this year.
Inside Linebacker Andrew Jackson (Western Kentucky)
-2013 Stats: 11 games played (9 starts). Had 95 tackles, 1 sack and 8.5 tackles for loss.
-Career Stats: 37 games played (33 starts) in 4 seasons. Had 326 tackles (174 solo), 6.5 sacks and 43 tackles for loss.
-Jackson’s Quote to Note: “Since the East-West Shrine Game, I’ve been with the Colts a lot, they stayed on me. Then I had a meeting with (linebackers coach Jeff FitzGerald). I had contact with him before the draft. He just talked to me about what to expect if I came, running different plays and stuff, the personnel, the linebacker room and meetings and stuff, just telling me about being on time. I’ve been talking with the Colts for a while now.”
-Ryan Grigson’s Thoughts: “Well Andrew Jackson was actually a guy that was going to come out (in 2013). He actually inquired with the league and was going to come out as a junior and decided to stay, so we knew about him for a couple of years. All the grades were really high and he’s a really tough, hard-nosed football player. You just mention his name to anybody and they know he likes to hit. He’s very physical and he’s all about business on the football field. This guy plays with an edge. He’s a 255-pound thumper. He’s kind of that guy, even two years ago at first glance you look at him and say, ‘This is what we’re looking for.’ You need to have some size in there, especially in our division and how this league is especially late in the year you know you’ve got to stop the run. He’s tailor-made to stop the run. Very quick, quicker than fast type guy but he’s cat-quick in a short area and plays a lot faster than he timed.”
-Outlook: Finding the right body types to fit a 3-4 defense up front is something Grigson has keyed on. In Jackson, he gets a guy that can handle the brunt of playing inside linebacker in the Colts defensive scheme. Jackson considers himself an old school linebacker who excels in run defense. His 43 tackles for loss in college indicate Jackson could find a role in short yardage and/or goal line situations.