What to Expect 2014: Jonathan Newsome, Andrew Jackson, Ulrick John

On the third day of the 2014 draft, the Colts took two defenders and a lineman. Let’s set reasonable production baselines for these players 2014.

(Rather than belabor the point of this series, please just refer back to the first post of 2014, and remember that these are not predictions, but rather baselines by which we can judge performance).

Ryan Grigson has struggled a bit with his late-round picks through his first two drafts. While LaVon Brazill has contributed, the five seventh-round picks have largely been zeros (depending on how you want to count practice-squadder Chandler Harnish). Additionally, John Boyett, last year’s sixth-rounder, failed to make the roster.

Let’s begin with Ball State pass rusher Jonathan Newsome. Defensive end types taken in the fifth round since 2007 have had limited impact in their rookie years. 11 of the 18 selected played in at least 8 games, but only two started more than a single game.

The best was DT/DE Karl Klug who picked up seven sacks his rookie year, and has 12.5 on his three-year career. Roughly half of the players taken wipe out of the league within a season or two at the most.

If Newsome appears in half the Colts’ games, picks up a sack and a handful of tackles, it will be a nice season for him. His path to NFL glory will likely depend on being a major special teams contributor early in his career. It’s impossible to look at a slight pass rusher taken in round five and not immediately be inundated with visions of the next Robert Mathis, but even the great Mathis cut his teeth on special teams. For the record, his rookie year consisted of 16 games played, 3.5 sacks and 18 tackles.

Andrew Jackson of Western Kentucky was the Indy sixth-round pick at linebacker. Inside linebackers are popular sixth-round selections, again because they typically help on special teams early on. Since 2007, there have been 32 inside linebackers taken in the sixth, and 19 played at least eight games. Only 11 started a game in their rookie campaign. Only 13 posted even 10 tackles in their rookie year.

Only one sixth-round linebacker has made a Pro Bowl since 2000. That was Adalius Thomas, who was easily the best of the 52 players who fit the bill. 16 of the 52 played 16 games or fewer in the NFL. Half of them play fewer than 32 career games. Only eight ever record more than two sacks. Only nine ever recorded 100 career tackles.

Jackson’s baseline is similar to Newsome’s. Making the team, playing in eight games and picking up 10 tackles will be a very good result.

Finally, the curiously-named Urlick John was Indy’s seventh-round selection. As a side note, I find his last-name first, first-name last style delightful, in a breakfast-for-dinner sort of way. John is an offensive line project from Georgia State with some injury concerns.

Of the 33 linemen taken in the seventh round since 2007, about half manage at least one start, but only five started half their games. Only 16 appeared in at least eight games, and 13 appeared in four or fewer.

Only one Pro-Bowl lineman has been taken in the seventh round since 2000 (Scott Wells). 30 of the 77 taken never appear in 16 NFL games. Only 25 ever pass 16 career starts.

If John makes the roster and appears in four games, it will be a reasonable start to his career. Long-term, if he becomes any kind of solid backup, it will be a validated pick.