Rookie Rundown: WR Dazz Newsome, North Carolina

Rookie Rundown: WR Dazz Newsome, North Carolina

Fantasy Football Rookie Analysis

Rookie Rundown: WR Dazz Newsome, North Carolina

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Former North Carolina Tar Heels wide receiver Dazz Newsome saw action as a true freshman in 2017 and ascended quickly to a prominent role. Despite a brother and father to have played for Virginia Tech, he opted for North Carolina. Four years later, Newsome joins fellow Tar Heels receiver Dyami Brown and running back Javonte Williams as incoming NFL rookies for 2021.

Height: 5-foot-9 1/8
Weight: 190 pounds
40 time: 4.59 seconds

Newsome wasn’t going to wow anyone with his straight-line speed, but it’s not really his game anyway. A pure slot receiver, the undersized target gets the most out of his stature and will nearly fit into any NFL system from the get-go as a fourth receiver in spread packages and/or on special teams.

Table: Dazz Newsome NCAA stats (2017-20)

Year
School
Class
Gm*
Receiving
Rushing
Rec
Yds
Avg
TD
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
2017
North Carolina
FR
8
18
227
12.6
0
8
52
6.5
0
2018
North Carolina
SO
11
44
506
11.5
2
7
96
13.7
1
2019
North Carolina
JR
12
72
1,018
14.1
10
3
9
3.0
0
2020
North Carolina
SR
12
54
684
12.7
6
2
21
10.5
1
Career
188
2,435
13
18
20
178
8.9
2

*includes postseason/bowl games

Newsome’s stat line took a hit in 2020 as Brown emerged in his junior season. The diversity of Newsome’s skills should be noted — highlighted best in his sophomore season when he scored as a receiver, rusher, and via a punt return in 2018. He earned second-team All-ACC recognition in 2019 and was an honorable mention in 2020.

Pros

  • Extremely energetic, playing at a varied frenetic pace that can catch defenders on their heels
  • Dangerous agility and play-making skills after the catch — moves like a ping-pong ball strapped with a Falcon 9 booster rocket attached to his back
  • Above-average hands — saw improvement after being fitted for contact lenses
  • Fearless over the middle of the field
  • Utilized out of the backfield on swings and screens
  • Considerable special teams experience and success
  • Electric footwork and body control in short area — can escape an attempted tackle in a phone booth without being touched
  • Naturally low center of gravity makes him tougher to take with glancing blows
  • One of those players who will work his way into a coach’s plans early on via manufactured opportunities

Cons

  • Can he sustain such a high-paced style of play year in and out and still be as successful? Either he has a short NFL career or learns to create separation in other ways
  • Route running is just average, at best — needs waste fewer steps in and out of breaks
  • Had catching problems early in his time at UNC but saw improvement after getting contact lenses — still far from the best raw catcher of the ball, though
  • Size concerns and violent, slashing playing style open him up to increased injury probability
  • Limited NFL potential for being more than a reserve/situational player or special teamer

Fantasy football outlook

Exciting to watch, Newsome will find a home within the first four rounds, in all likelihood. He might slide into the fifth, and at that point in the draft, who cares as long as the system fit is correct.

It’d be intriguing in offenses like that of the Indianapolis Colts, Philadelphia Eagles, San Francisco 49ers, Los Angeles Rams, Cincinnati Bengals, Seattle Seahawks, and Arizona Cardinals. Creative coaching staffs will find ways to get him involved in space, even as a rookie, although it’s highly improbable we’ll see Newsome have a fantasy football impact in Year 1.

The best-case scenario for his value in the upcoming season is an injury thrusts Newsome into the primary slot role during the second half of the year and he is ready to offer help off of the waiver wire.

Be patient, and stash him in the deepest of dynasty leagues for the 2022 and ’23 seasons, but if he doesn’t start to show flashes by then, it’s fair to cast Newsome aside.

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