Packers: A Look at Royce Newman & What He Adds to Offense

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - OCTOBER 31: Royce Newman #72 of the Mississippi Rebels plays against the Vanderbilt Commodores at Vanderbilt Stadium on October 31, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - OCTOBER 31: Royce Newman #72 of the Mississippi Rebels plays against the Vanderbilt Commodores at Vanderbilt Stadium on October 31, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images) /

In this year’s draft, addressing the offensive tackle position was a must. For starters, even with David Bakhtiari healthy, this was still a fairly thin group. But without him, the Green Bay Packers were left with Billy Turner and Elgton Jenkins as the starters — which should be fine — however, the only backup was Yosh Nijman, who has 14 career snaps.

Truthfully, I thought that this was a position that Green Bay would address earlier in the draft, even taking a tackle at pick 62 rather than selecting Josh Myers. Instead, the Packers would take two tackles on Day 3 of the draft, with the first being Royce Newman from Ole Miss.

Like many of the offensive lineman on this Green Bay Packers’ roster, Newman has experience at multiple positions. A two-year starter, the 6’5″ – 310 pound Newman spent 2019 as the left guard and 2020 as the team’s right tackle.

According to PFF ($$), his sack numbers are good, allowing just one as a guard in 417 pass-blocking attempts and two at tackle over 430 pass-blocking snaps. However, the issue was the number of pressures given up–specifically at tackle. Newman would allow 10 QB pressures at guard but 25 at tackle. By PFF’s pass-blocking efficiency metric, Newman ranked 59th out of 79 eligible tackles in 2020.

As a result, there are some that believe that Newman is best suited to play guard in the NFL, but Packers Co-Director of Player Personnel Jon-Eric Sullivan would disagree, saying:

"“He’s got good lateral quickness. He stays in front of guys and can mirror and sustain and he plays good ball out there. If I didn’t know anything about anything, and I just walked up to the kid and looked at his body, I’d say, you know, that guy’s probably an inside guy, but if we had to go play tomorrow and play him at right tackle, I’d feel good about it.” — via Bill Huber of Sports Illustrated"

When categorized as a tackle, Newman scored a 7.59 out of 10 on the Relative Athletic Scoring table, which is slightly below that 8.0 threshold that Brian Gutekunst had typically stuck to during his first three drafts. But to echo what Sullivan said, when watching Newman on tape, athleticism doesn’t appear to be an issue with his side-to-side mobility and foot quickness.

In the run game, 63 percent of Newman’s run-blocking snaps came in a zone scheme, which of course, is what the Green Bay Packers utilize under Matt LaFleur. By PFF’s grading system, Newman was a more effective run-blocker at tackle than pass-blocker.

Newman was a part of this year’s Senior Bowl, an All-Star showcase for college football’s top seniors, and Director Jim Nagy told Sports Illustrated that he sees Newman as a “future starter” in the NFL.

Now for more on Newman’s game and what he can bring to the Green Bay Packers, let’s take a look at what several draft analysts had to say about him in their pre-draft reports:

Pro Football Focus

"“Newman has bounced around considerably for the Rebels in his two years as a starter. He’s played at least 79 snaps at every position along the offensive line except center, with left guard and right tackle making up the bulk majority of his playing time. He played exclusively at right tackle in 2020 and had his fair share of struggles in pass protection, notably earning a 48.0 pass-blocking grade on true pass sets. He has the physical traits the NFL is looking for, but his future will be on the inside.”"

Drae Harris – The Draft Network

"“Royce Newman demonstrates some athleticism on the edge in his body control and agility. In the run game, he is more of a positional blocker than a vertical mover. He doesn’t play with good in-line power, but has value in his versatility and movement skills. In the passing game, he demonstrates good footwork in his pass set. He lacks good power in his punch but demonstrates the lateral agility that affords him upside if moved inside to guard.”"

Lance Zierlein –

"“Has the ability and experience to be considered at guard or tackle. Hand placement and technique as a run blocker are generally good. He has the athleticism to handle stretch plays and long pulls effectively. He can redirect his weight and adjust to moving targets as a second-level guard (2019) and showed improvement in his pass protection fundamentals in 2020. Newman stays connected and sustains blocks, but will struggle against strong two-gappers inside. He looks like a Day 3 prospect, but his position versatility and movement skills could give him a leg up in future roster battles.”"

Tony Pauline – Pro Football Network

"“Positives: Underrated tackle who blocks with proper fundamentals. Bends his knees, stays square, and plays with strength. Quickly sets up in pass protection, keeps his feet moving, and anchors at the point. Immediately gets his hands into defenders and correctly places them. Makes outstanding use of angles as well as body positioning and easily turns defenders from the play. Controls opponents in one-on-one blocking assignments, gets movement run blocking, and plays with a nasty attitude. Fires out to the second level and always looks for someone to hit.Negatives: Struggles to adjust and cannot hit a moving target. Lacks smooth and quick footwork off the edge.Analysis: Newman is an under-the-radar right tackle with nice size and strength as well as growth potential. He turned in a solid season in 2020 and went on to perform well during Senior Bowl practices. Though he may take a bit of time to round out his game, Newman could be a Day 3 steal and eventually develop into a Sunday starter.”"

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Expectations shouldn’t be that Newman is going to start right away, but he provides some much-needed depth at a premier position. The hope is that he can develop into the team’s future starting right tackle, a position that will be up for grabs in the coming years with Turner’s status beyond the 2021 season unknown.