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Indianapolis Colts

Meeting Colts Fifth Round Draft Pick Jonathan Newsome

Intro: Jonathan Newsome couldn’t contain his excitement on Saturday when he found out the Indianapolis Colts were taking him with the 166th overall pick. How does Newsome’s pass rush abilities translate to the Colts 3-4 defense?





INDIANAPOLIS – Jonathan Newsome couldn't stop apologizing.

About 15-20 minutes had passed from Newsome hearing his name announced in the 2014 NFL Draft, yet he hadn't even had time to throw on a shirt for an on-camera interview.

As the final day of the draft dragged into the fifth round and with his professional future in limbo, Newsome couldn't take it anymore.

He headed outside to run 300-yard sprints and when he returned to his mother's house in Atlanta it was time for a shower.

That's when Newsome got the call of a lifetime, so excuse him for not being able to control his emotions when the '317' area code appeared on his phone.

"My initial reaction was, I really can't even do it again, it was so loud, I yelled," Newsome said retelling the story a few minutes after being taken with the 166th overall pick.

"I screamed and ran around the room in circles and my mom was yelling and my sister was yelling. It was really like a dream come true moment right there."


A few days following Newsome's selection, the Colts new outside linebacker was once again out of breath as he exited the practice field following the team's offseason program.

Newsome had time though to explain just how his 16.5 sacks in two seasons at Ball State can translate to the NFL.

"We ran a 4-3 defense where we had a RUSH defensive end. That was me, where I would drop sometimes but mostly pass rush," Newsome explained.

"Then we had our 3-4 defense and I was mostly off the ball and I was reading and I was dropping majority in that package, just read and react."

For Pete Lembo, getting a player like Newsome was a must in order to accomplish what the Ball State coach was trying to build in Muncie.

In 2011, Lembo took over the Cardinals, a team that was 6-18 the previous three years.

When a transfer of Newsome's caliber popped up on the radar, Lembo pounced on the chance.

The highlight for the two came last October when the Cardinals traveled to Virginia to get a rare crack at a power conference team.

Going up against NFL Draft prospect Morgan Moses (the tackle was taken 66th overall last week), Newsome had a pair of sacks in the Cardinals 48-27 victory.

"That was the biggest win in school history," Newsome says looking back on the victory.

"I remember it just got to a point where we were tired of everybody looking down on Ball State, looking down on the MAC. We just had something to prove."

Now, Newsome has something to prove individually to those who passed on the 236-pound outside linebacker last week.

Lembo loves that his former sack artist will be under the tutelage of Robert Mathis and thinks the fit won't be too difficult.

"Obviously, he's a very natural pass rusher and a guy that became pretty effective at holding the point against the run," Lembo says of Newsome.

"He's very comfortable in a two-point stance. It comes very natural to him. I think he actually prefers it."

During a dull period at this year's combine, watching Newsome go through drills perked the Colts interest.

That, combined with his impressive tape, had the Colts sweating bullets on Saturday afternoon, hoping the Cleveland native would be there at No. 166.

"Once I looked at (Newsome), three or four plays, it was like, 'Wow,' Chuck Pagano said. "Then I grabbed (defensive coordinator) Greg Manusky and pulled Greg in and said, 'Hey, take a look at this kid, tell me what you think.' And he's already seen the so-called top three, four, five pass rushers coming out this year. An hour later, he walks back through my door and he's like, 'Wow, that guy's got something.'

"Like we said, the tape doesn't lie. It's out there and the guy is a football junkie. It's his whole life. And he's a four-core special teams guy and he embraces that. It's hard to find pass rushers and the way our league's going, you can never have enough of them, so we feel great."

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