2024 Bears Draft Target: Josh Newton
Jerome Miron - USA Today Sports

2024 Bears Draft Target: Josh Newton

by - Senior Writer -

While most of you may not think the Bears need a CB, that may not be the case, as the Jaylon Johnson decision is still unresolved. In case you have forgotten, Johnson and the Bears failed to reach a contract extension last season, leaving his future with this team in doubt. There were talks about him being a trade candidate last season, and although that didn't happen, some feel his days in Chicago are over.

If you listen to Johnson and his camp, there is a general consensus that he wants to remain in Chicago not only this upcoming season but for the long-term as well. For that to happen, the sides will have to agree. Otherwise, Johnson will have plenty of suitors on the open market. Should Johnson indeed be looking or even signing with a new team, then the Bears will be in the market for CB help to pair alongside Kyler Gordon.

This may not happen in the first round, but once round two comes around, it would instantly become a position of need, and the Bears would have options about making that decision. One player who could be available as a late-first or day-two selection for the Bears when they come back around is TCU CB Josh Newton, who continues to be one of the more overlooked prospects in this year's class.

A bit older than many of the prospects at 23, that is the norm for this year's draft as most of these players are class COVID-affected. However, at 6-0 and 195 pounds, Newton has the size to be an outside CB, while his overall skill set makes him an intriguing option for anyone to grab.

When you look at the TCU scheme and the zone scheme that Matt Eberflus and his defense play, both are similar, and it is a perfect match for the two sides. His skill set in a zone scheme, mixed with his high football IQ, could make him a starter on day one, although some other questions about his overall game need to be addressed come draft weekend.

Looking back at his career with the Horned Frogs, Newton came away with 152 tackles, seven interceptions, and 36 passes defended. Go back to his senior season this year, and he had what some would call a down year, but still played well with 33 tackles, one interception, and nine passes defended. You would like to see more interceptions from a No. 1 CB, but the broken-up passes are what stand out, as he has no problem going up and challenging his man for the football.

When you look at the film and compare him to some of the other corners in this year's class, Newton thrives at zone coverage as he has excellent awareness of what is going on and does a great job anticipating the throw. Although the interception numbers may not be there, he has the ball-hawking skills to go from a defensive player to an offensive player, making it difficult for WRs to come away with the catch.

A master in zone coverage, Newton has also shown the ability to play physically in man coverage and does a great job playing press coverage off the line. When you look at some of the WRs in the NFL and the NFC North, for that matter, having someone who can play press coverage is huge as it can alter the WRs route long enough to throw off the timing.

One of the biggest questions about Newton, which is more of a concern right now, is his lack of elite speed, which could make him prone to getting beat over the top. Yes, he is quick off the line, but he doesn't have the speed to recover should someone beat him off his initial press coverage.

Another area of concern is the overall defensive play, as he tends to struggle getting off blocks in the running game. There is a reason why teams would run the ball to his side of the field as he had a tough time getting off the block to make a play. Others also point to his age as a concern, as he will be 24 when the season starts, but that will be the case for most prospects this season.

Given that the Bears added Gordon, Tyrique Stevenson, and Terrell Smith in the past two drafts, adding a CB isn't a significant need, but it could become one if Johnson leaves. Stevenson and Smith showed potential last year, but Smith is more of a Nickel CB than an outside guy. If you wanted to look at a player comparison for Newton, Xavier Rhodes comes to mind as a physical player with the ball-hawking skills to make plays but lacks the top-end speed should they get beat over the top.

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