Next up in the Unpacking a Future Packers countdown is Dazz Newsome. The University of North Carolina wide receiver checks in at number 70 in the countdown.
As a sophomore for the University of North Carolina Tar Heels, Dazz Newsome caught 44 passes for 506 yards and two receiving touchdowns. He averaged 15.1 yards per punt return and also took one back for a touchdown.
In 2019, Newsome had a breakout campaign. Newsome finished his junior season with 72 receptions for 1,018 yards and 10 touchdowns.
“He’s super dynamic,” Ross Martin, a reporter for Inside Carolina said. “He’s super explosive with the ball in his hands. He has some good hands where he’s able to make some highlight-reel catches. He’s a tough guy.”
This past season Newsome’s numbers took a hit. He finished with 54 receptions for 684 yards and six touchdowns.
There were a number of factors that played a role in Newsome’s production taking a hit. One of them was fellow wide receiver, Dyami Brown who enjoyed a breakout season of his own.
Another factor was the production of UNC’s rushing attack. Javonte Williams and Michael Carter formed the best running back duo in college football, combining for 28 rushing touchdowns and 2,385 rushing yards.
The final factor is the fact that defenses started the year focused on slowing down Newsome after his breakout season in 2019.
“I think defenses were really keyed in on him after his big junior season,” Martin said. “He was still a factor. He drew so much attention that it allowed other receivers and even the run game to really flourish.”
The 2020 season was not what Newsome expected. However, he did finish the season with a flurry. In the final seven games, he caught 37 passes for 533 yards and five touchdowns.
“When he did get the ball and when he was targeted he was able to make big plays and get some big chunks of yards,” Martin said. “It wasn’t the season he was expecting, but the talent was there. You saw what he did as a junior. His senior season was just not as productive as he wanted and as the staff wanted. But he was still a big factor behind Dyami Brown.”
Newsome is a nuisance working out of the slot. He’s shifty and has the footwork of a ballerina. According to Pro Football Focus, he has accumulated 1,702 receiving yards out of the slot since 2019. That total is second most behind Ole Miss, wide receiver, Elijah Moore.
Most receiving yards from the slot since 2019:
1. Elijah Moore, Ole Miss – 1,738
2. Dazz Newsome, UNC – 1,702
3. Keylon Stokes, Tulsa – 1,655
4. Jaelon Darden, N Texas – 1,635 pic.twitter.com/g5oKA2uFY2
— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) January 30, 2021
“He’s a good slot wide receiver,” Martin said. “When he gets the ball in space he’s dangerous. He can be utilized in the backfield on jet sweeps.”
The first thing that jumps out about Newsome’s game when you watch him on film, is how fluid he is. He’s so quick in and out of his breaks. Everything he does has a purpose. There are no wasted movements with him.
With his quickness and ball-tracking skills, Newsome is a vertical threat. In 2019, Newsome led the nation with 13 receptions of 20-plus yards.
That quickness makes him a terror for teams after the catch. He’s decisive with the ball in his hands and often looks like a running back in the open field.
“He’s just so fast and so quick,” Martin said. “He makes sharp cuts. Some of these guys play around a little bit. He just makes one cut and goes. He’s just fast. He’s the jitterbug type wide receiver. He’s very quick and dynamic. He has a knack for getting huge chunks of yards. With the ball in space, he can get some damage done.”
In the movie Major League, Wild Thing, Rick Vaughn struggles with his command. That all changes when the manager, Lou Brown, realizes he needs glasses.
Newsome had his own Wild Thing aha moment before his junior season. Prior to his breakout campaign, Newsome struggled with drops. That all changed when UNC wide receiver coach, Lonnie Galloway realized his dynamic wide receiver needed glasses.
Unfortunately, Newsome didn’t get a cool pair of specs like Vaughn did in Major League. Since getting contacts, Newsome has put the drops behind him.
“He has great hands,” Martin said. “That’s something he improved on. He got contacts ahead of the 2019 season. He played the first two seasons without glasses. His drops decreased once he got contacts and once he could see the ball a little crisper.”
Matt LaFleur and his coaching staff demand that their wide receivers block out on the boundary. Newsome may be undersized at 5’11, but that doesn’t stop him from being an effective blocker out on the boundary.
‘That was always a demand for receivers in the UNC offense,” Martin said. “He’s a smaller guy. He’s not going to run over some linebackers, but he was a willing blocker.”
Fit with the Packers
The Green Bay Packers have the best wide receiver in football with Davante Adams. Marquez Valdes-Scantling proved to be a big-play threat. However, he’s still wildly inconsistent and battles drops. Allen Lazard put together a solid campaign (when healthy).
It’s past due for the Packers to get another dynamic playmaker at the position. Somebody that can make a defender miss and turn a seven-yard slant into a 20-plus yard gain. That kind of player is currently not on the team.
That’s where Newsome comes in. Newsome is electric with the ball in his hands and could provide the Packers with a big-play threat working out of the slot.
“He’s just a great football player,” Martin said. “His strengths are what he can do with the ball in space and working out of the slot. He’s a good punt returner.”
With his ability to help Green Bay’s return game, Newsome makes a lot of sense for them in the fourth round. He’s got solid hands. With him working out of the slot he provides the Packers with another vertical threat, while also giving them a wide receiver that can create after the catch.
If Newsome is still on the board when Green Bay is on the clock in the fourth round, don’t be shocked if Brian Gutekunst pulls the trigger to give Aaron Rodgers another weapon to play with.