Career Recap: During the fall of 2019, Newman created a buzz in the scouting community as a legit pro prospect for the NFL. He showed a big improvement as a junior, completing 61 percent of his passes for 2,868 yards with 26 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He also notched six rushing touchdowns with 464 yards on the ground. In 2018, Newman completed 60 percent of his passes for 1,083 yards with nine touchdowns and four interceptions. Rather than enter the 2020 NFL Draft, Newman graduated from Wake Forest and decided to transfer. At the time, Newman said it was based on his need to develop and prepare for the next level. He then landed at Georgia, where he should be the replacement for Jake Fromm.
2020 Season Outlook: Newman will see a challenging schedule in 2020 as the Bulldogs have a tough slate. In September, they start the year against an improving Virginia team. In Week 3, they take on a juggernaut in Alabama. October will provide tough games against Auburn and Florida. The final month of the season will see Georgia go to Kentucky, where the Wildcats have a lot of NFL talent that will challenge Newman.
Skill-Set Summary: The NFL has been trending toward quarterbacks who offer running ability and arm talent as their preferred signal-callers, so there should be plenty of team evaluators who are intrigued with Newman. He has good size, a strong arm, and the athleticism to make plays with his feet. If Newman can continue to develop as a passer, he should be very much in demand by the time of the 2021 NFL Draft.
Newman has a powerful arm and is capable of making all the throws. He throws a nice deep ball and is able to locate his passes well downfield. With good touch, Newman can put air underneath the ball and loft in throws, but he still has the power to fire fastballs into tight windows. Newman throws the ball well in the red zone and is very adept at putting the ball up for his receiver to make a play over defensive backs. He worked really well with big wideout Sage Surratt at Wake Forest, using their abilities to win on 50-50 throws, back-shoulder throws, and fade passes that are popular in NFL offenses.
Newman can throw accurately, but could stand to continue to improve in that regard. Improving his footwork and not throwing flat-footed will help to get his passes more precise. Newman has good size for the pocket and hangs tough there to throw in the face of the rush. He shows physical courage and does not let impending hits keep him from delivering the ball downfield.
As a runner, Newman has some quickness and athleticism, but he is not a bolt of lightning or a very elusive runner like a Lamar Jackson. Newman is more of a straight-line and downhill runner, but he will use his big size to run over defenders and push the pile in short-yardage situations. He also lowers his shoulder to deliver the blow to tacklers. Last year, that led to Newman suffering a shoulder injury against Louisville, so that is something that he is going to have to restrict in the NFL and that inclination will need to be coached out of him. Still, he offers the ability to pick up some first downs with his feet and could be a weapon near the goal line and in short-yardage situations.
This analyst thinks that Newman made a smart decision to transfer to Georgia to develop as a player before going to the NFL. If Newman had entered the 2020 NFL Draft, he could have been a second-day pick who would sit and learn as a backup. Newman's development will be better suited playing for Georgia. There are number of areas that Newman will need to get better at for the NFL and playing in the SEC with a different offense will help that. Wake Forest's offense had Newman making a lot of quick, instant throws. He also was not working off his first read very often. The offense did not have him working through a lot of progressions on the majority of plays. Wake did have Newman do some deep drops with working through targets, but that was on a smaller percentage of plays. The vast majority had the passing being thrown immediately. Hence, Newman's field vision needs work.
Too often, Newman will stare down his primary read. For plays on which he does make deep drops, he needs to get faster at working through the progressions and speeding up the process. Team sources have said that you can't expect college players to do something they haven't been taught yet, and that consideration is in play with Newman's field vision. Georgia's offense had Jake Fromm working through progressions, so hopefully Newman will get more NFL preparation for his field vision in Athens.
Newman also could stand to improve his ball security. He showed progress from his sophomore to junior year and still has room for improvement. When his team gets down, Newman also can press and fall into some struggles. Seeing the ability to stay composed and lead his team back will be something teams are looking for in 2020.
Newman has a lot of lot of potential for the NFL with a starter's skill set. It will be interesting to see if the raw elements can be worked out for him to develop into being a potential Thursday night pick who is a future franchise quarterback.
2021 NFL Draft Expectations: Entering the 2020 season, Newman has the potential to be an early-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.