The top five quarterbacks in the 2021 NFL Draft are as locked in as they can get at this point in the process. That pentuplet would consist of Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields, Trey Lance, Zach Wilson, and Mac Jones. Things start to get interesting after those five, however. There a multiple playing styles and intriguing options for NFL teams in the middle rounds. There may be none more intriguing than Jamie Newman.
Newman had the definition of a roller coaster offseason last summer. Early in the year, Newman decided to graduate transfer to Georgia after starting 16 games at Wake Forest. It seemed like a great fit and opportunity for Newman on paper. Then the Coronvirus pandemic hit. College football and, thus, Newman’s plans would be greatly affected as a result. He would ultimately decide to opt-out of the entire 2020 college football season and begin preparation for the 2021 NFL Draft.
While Newman’s decision to opt-out was definitely in his best interest, it did not help NFL teams in their evaluation process of the developmental quarterback. The Senior Bowl last month was the only time NFL teams had seen him throw in the past year. Newman took full advantage of the opportunity in Mobile to remind everyone of the talent and skillset he possesses. But what does the tape from two years ago say about his potential in the NFL?
Jamie Newman is a fifth-year senior who started 16 out of 21 career games at Wake Forest. His best year easily came in 2019, his first full year as the starter. He did maintain mostly good health throughout his career. That said, he did miss one game due to a shoulder injury in 2019. In fact, he earned Honorable Mention All-ACC honors after his 2019 season. In 2019, Newman completed 60% of his passes for 2,868 yards and 26 touchdowns to 11 interceptions. He contributed 574 yards and six touchdowns on the ground as well.
Newman possesses solid height and excellent weight with a very strong build, thick lower body, and a very muscular upper body. He was very adept at running Dave Clawson’s spread, heavy RPO offense at Wake Forest as he possessed the size and strength to be a great runner between the tackles.
The critical factors are the traits that each position is evaluated on as they head to the NFL. These traits are Athletic Ability, Mental Processing, Competitive Toughness, Play Speed, and Play Strength. These are all the areas that Jamie Newman excels in the most.
Newman possesses very good athletic ability, competitive toughness, and play strength. This especially shows in his ability as a runner. He displays good agility to make defenders miss in the open field and in the hole with good balance to withstand hard hits as a runner and in the pocket. He also consistently runs through arm tackles or straight runs over smaller defensive backs in the open field. In other words, it is not easy to bring him down with just one man consistently. His competitive toughness shows up game in and game out as he shows the willingness to do whatever it takes to try and lead his team to victory. If anything, he actually tried to do too much at Wake Forest.
Newman’s Play Speed and Mental Processing are not on the same level as the other critical factors, but they are still good and project to the NFL well. He shows good acceleration and speed to burst through the hole or beat the defense to the edge for big gains on the ground. Mental Processing is where he will need to be developed the most in the NFL. Especially when it comes to his progressions and anticipation as a passer. Newman has a tendency to stick to a receiver too long in his progressions with a limited ability to anticipate them breaking open or throw them to an open spot versus Zone Coverage.
Now we get into the areas Newman needs to improve the most in order to become a starting quarterback in the NFL. Newman does possess good arm strength to zip the ball into his targets on short and intermediate passes. He also shows the arm strength to push the ball deep downfield with just a flick of the wrist. He also uses his athletic ability well to get outside the pocket and throw accurately on the run. Other than those areas, there is plenty of room for Newman to improve at the next level.
For Newman, it all starts with his fundamentals and accuracy. He will need to rework his footwork and base to throw accurately with better consistently. His ball placement to maximize yards after the catch leaves a lot to be desired. Newman does show good touch on his deep passes. However, his touch on intermediate passes over the middle of the field leaves something to be desired.
While athletic ability to extend plays and get out of the pocket is becoming more of the norm in the NFL, quarterbacks still need to show the ability to win in the pocket. This is where Newman struggles the most. He doesn’t have a good feel or presence in the pocket to sense and avoid pressure. And when he does feel the pressure, he immediately will drop his eyes and look to run instead of keeping his eyes downfield to get a pass off.
Newman shows adequate ability to read coverage and make solid decisions with the ball as a passer. That being said, however, he has moments will he will misread the defense and try to force the ball to his first read. Newman’s poise in the pocket is his lowest graded trait. He will rush his mechanics and throws if he senses pressure or faces consistent pressure throughout a game.
Jamie Newman is not near the level of the consensus top five quarterbacks in this draft class. That being said, Newman is a very intriguing option in the middle rounds as a developmental quarterback. He has the necessary physical traits to succeed in the NFL. He just needs to put it all together with the mental side of the game and his ability to win from the pocket.
Newman would definitely benefit from sitting behind and learning from a veteran as a rookie while looking to improve his throwing footwork and mechanics. Newman will also greatly benefit from sitting in meetings and film sessions with an NFL coach. If he can improve in those areas, Jamie Newman can become a starting quarterback in the NFL.