Colts stick to defense on final day of NFL draft

By MICHAEL MAROT - AP Sports Writer
    2014-05-10 16:27

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Colts general manager Ryan Grigson focused on defense Saturday.

One day after taking two offensive players to help Andrew Luck, the Colts opened the final day of the draft by adding pass rusher Jonathan Newsome and inside linebacker Andrew Jackson. Newsome, a 6-foot-3, 236-pound defensive end, is the first Ball State player ever drafted by the Colts.

With his size and skill set, Newsome may be better suited to play outside linebacker in the Colts' 3-4 defense where he will get a chance to earn from one of the most feared pass rushers in the league, Robert Mathis.

''I'm his little brother, he doesn't know it yet,'' Newsome said. ''I watched him all last year. I can't wait, I really can't wait to learn from him.''

Newsome had some off-the-field issues in college.

He started at Ohio State but academic problems forced him to miss most of spring practice in 2011, and he eventually transferred to Ball State, a school located about an hour north of Indianapolis. Then in August 2012, after sitting out one year because of the NCAA's transfer rules, Newsome was arrested on marijuana charges and missed the first two games of the season.

He started the final 21 games of his Cardinals career, finishing with 116 tackles, 16 1/2 sacks, drawing comparisons to Mathis and earning his degree.

''Me going from a big school to a little school really helped me a lot and I grew up in those years,'' Newsome said. ''I had to really appreciate my focus, how important football is to me, and figure out how I was going to take care of my family.''

First, he must figure out where he fits in a defense that gave up more than 40 points in each of its two playoff games last season.

Grigson spent most of his free-agent money on finding a solution. He re-signed defensive end Fili Moala and cornerbacks Vontae Davis and Josh Gordy. He also signed veteran free agents Arthur Jones, a defensive lineman, and linebacker D'Qwell Jackson to help solidify the run defense.

The most glaring need heading into the draft appeared to be safety where the Colts lost one starter, Pro Bowler Antoine Bethea in free agency. Indy's other starter, Pro Bowler LaRon Landry, missed four games because of injuries last year.

But when four safeties were taken in the first round and two more went in the third, the Colts decided to look for help elsewhere.

They got a pass rusher, who could complement Mathis, the NFL's reigning sacks champ. ESPN analyst Bill Polian even compared Newsome to Mathis. Polian drafted Mathis in the fifth round of the 2005 draft.

Newsome, who was taken in the same round at No. 166 overall, embraced the comparisons.

The Colts took Jackson in the sixth round, No. 203 overall. The 6-foot-1, 254-pound Western Kentucky star made 326 tackles, 43 for losses, in his four-year career and played at the same Florida high school as Ray Lewis.

On Friday, the Colts took Ohio State offensive lineman Jack Mewhort in the second round and Ole Miss receiver Donte Moncrief in the third.