Dazz Newsome did not see much action during his rookie season after being drafted in the sixth round last year.
There were a couple of reasons why.
First, Newsome broke his collarbone last June that required surgery. This led to a slow start as the wide receiver began training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list.
He was able to practice with the team in the first week of August, but it was clear the Bears were taking it slow with Newsome as he didn’t see much action in practice nor in the preseason.
Despite appearing in all three preseason games, Newsome only saw three balls go his way. He was able to catch two of them for 26 yards. He also had three punt returns, an element of his game people looked forward to, for 17 total yards.
The previous coaching staff did not like playing rookies. Newsome spent the majority of the season on the practice squad only appearing in three games near the end of the year.
Advanced Stat to Know: Quarterbacks had a passer rating of 28.1 when targeting Newsome, which was the lowest on the team. (PFF)
Best Game of 2021
Newsome’s best game came in the season finale where he had one catch for 13 yards. However, it was special teams where he made an impact with 47 punt return yards on four attempts and made a tackle in kickoff coverage.
Can Dazz Newsome make a strong enough impression to make the team?
It’s clear that Newsome has an uphill battle ahead of him. He’s best suited as a slot receiver and the Bears now have Byron Pringle and Velus Jones Jr. who also thrive inside.
He was a standout player during a practice in late May. But he will need to continue turning heads in order to beat out veterans Tajae Sharp and Dante Pettis for a roster spot.
For Newsome, it may come down to his punt return skills. Even though he did not have a large sample size last year, Newsome did average over 12 yards per punt return. He will need to prove to his new coaches that he is the best man for the job.
Newsome demonstrated in college that he is a playmaker with the ball in his hands. He runs with a competitive edge and is looking to make more yards after the catch.
He did not have the chance to really show what he is capable of last year after breaking his collarbone and the trickle effect it had afterward.
This year, Newsome will have a better opportunity in training camp and the preseason to showcase his talent.
GM Ryan Poles and the Bears will take the best players they have at the position. Period.
Luckily for Newsome, he has two potential paths to make the roster both as a receiver and punt returner.
With other players that have more experience and proven production on the roster, it’s difficult to say that Newsome will be able to beat them for a roster spot.
Newsome’s sample size last season is just too small to really know where exactly he stands compared to his teammates.
There’s no question that Newsome could end up being a surprise this season. It’s just too early to tell. For now, it’s best to keep expectations low.
Prediction: Newsome gets placed on the practice squad and is only flexed to the active roster if needed to fill in for an injured player.
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