The Philadelphia Eagles signed undrafted rookie free agent quarterback Jamie Newman following the 2021 NFL Draft. In order to learn more about him, I reached out to SB Nation’s Wake Forest blog: Blogger So Dear. Demon Deacons writer Cameron Lemons Debro was kind enough to answer my questions.
1) Can you recap his college career?
Jamie Newman was, quite frankly, the guy who saved a season for Wake Forest but left with a lot of questions. When coming out of high school, there wasn’t much he could do to start the first two years, as John Wolford and Kendall Hinton were the stars of the show, with Wolford turning into a video game in 2017. Once Wolford graduated, everyone thought Hinton would be the starter, but a suspension before the season begun threw Wake an impromptu QB competition between Newman and then Freshman Sam Hartman. A groin injury helped give Hartman the start, but Jamie was always there just waiting until Hartman suffered a season-ending injury against Syracuse.
Newman’s first-ever start came against a nationally ranked NC State team on the road on ESPN, that frankly, most people counted Wake out. Jamie ended up leading a come-from-behind victory going 22-33 for 297 yards and 3 touchdowns with no interceptions. In his 4 starts in 2018, the team went 3-1 and Newman was responsible for 2 come-from-behind victories, a thrashing of Duke, and a victory in a bowl game against a sneaky good Memphis team.
2019 was supposed to be Wake’s year and Newman lead them out to a hot 5-0 start and their first-ever CFP ranking. With his arm and his legs, Newman was slowly and slowly becoming one of the more talked about players in the ACC. However, the injury bug caught up to the entire team. Newman suffered a shoulder injury and missed a game and a half, both his starting wide receivers were injured while battling against Virginia Tech later in the season which forced the team to throw freshmen to the wolves, the OL got hurt, and in the season finale Newman picked up a knee injury that was very clearly still there in the bowl game against Michigan State. Newman’s transfer after the bowl game came as a complete surprise to pretty much everyone as we all thought 2020 would be the “run it back” year. As we all know, Newman opted out at Georgia, and setting the record straight here talking to people who would know, it wasn’t because he somehow getting beat out by a JT Daniels that wasn’t even healthy until late in the season, or the not great duo of D’Wan Mathis and Stetson Bennett. It was genuine COVID concerns. As personally a UGA hater, I would’ve loved Jamie to have played but like many other collegiate careers, the pandemic put a quiet end to an otherwise loud college career.
2) What are his strengths?
His confidence stands out first and foremost. He knows he has a big arm and when asked to take shots downfield, his live arm shows up and can put it on a dime. There’s no shortage in velocity on any of his throws.
Jamie Newman can definitely rip it. Great catch by Amari Rodgers. LSU LB Jabril Cox almost had this one going the other way pic.twitter.com/vnwPLJGk1b— Jon Ledyard (@LedyardNFLDraft) January 28, 2021
Not only is he not afraid to take shots, but he knows when to exploit mismatches. Wake’s offense was efficient due to the fact that both Sage Surratt and Scotty Washington were two large wide receivers that loved to play above the rim. While it seems easy to say, “just throw it up to the tall guys”, Jamie does a very good job of throwing a catchable ball to allow his guys to be in a position to make a play. His back-shoulder throws were one of the best things to watch at Wake.
Not only does the confidence extend with his arm, but he’s also not afraid to use his frame to run. He doesn’t shy away from contact and will get the extra yards if that’s what’s needed. I’d be a fool to not remind people of the play where he just sits 3rd round pick Chazz Surratt down knocking off his helmet.
What a run by Jamie Newman for the TOUCHDOWN!!!!!! He sat Chazz Surratt down and broke multiple tackles. pic.twitter.com/HsnKiOUxdO— NCAAF Nation (@NCAAFNation247) September 13, 2019
3) What are his weaknesses?
For being as confident as he is, when he doesn’t feel as if he can trust the guys outside, he locks onto his first read and if that isn’t open, just takes off and runs. It’s a fixable issue to rely on others and work through your progressions, but, and I’ll touch on it in a second, it’s not like he has a large body of work, so any and all mistakes are going to be emphasized more than say one for Justin Fields.
A big area that I wanted to see Jamie Newman improve in and I talked about this on today’s @ReidOptionPod episode was his eyes matching his throwing trigger. They don’t always marry up.— Jordan Reid (@Jordan_Reid) September 4, 2020
Great example here. pic.twitter.com/Xmj3g2faqS
Consistency is also the name of the game. I *think* he can be the ultra-consistent guy that can continually lead an offense, but we’ve only seen a season and some change of him. Is he the guy we saw when Wake had a fully healthy team that was bulldozing people, and just throwing bombs downfield? Or is he the guy we saw towards the tail end of 2019 and in the Senior Bowl that can both dazzle you as well as have maddening overthrows and take bad sacks? There just isn’t enough on the tape for us to know and that’s maybe a bigger red flag than him staring down his receiver too often. Granted, again, most of his negative marks/plays are him either playing hurt or playing with a skeleton crew, but this is the NFL, there aren’t excuses here. And there damn sure aren’t excuses in Philly.
4) Are you surprised he went undrafted?
All Wake fandom aside, a little bit. I’m not shocked at all he didn’t go in the top 4 rounds, but when looking at guys like Ian Book, Sam Ehlinger, and Davis Mills (guys, Davis Mills isn’t good can we PLEASE stop with this), I was a bit surprised people didn’t take a shot on him as they did with those guys. But it’s not at all shocking. Outside of the Senior Bowl, Newman hasn’t played organized football since December 2019, it’ll have been a year and a half before he takes snaps in a game, that in itself is a huge question mark and largely lead to the drop to being undrafted.
5) How do you see his NFL career playing out?
The million-dollar question here! I should’ve lead off with this by a disclaimer: I am a BIG Jamie Newman guy. The size, the arm, the ability to run (while not very fast) is something you take every single day and twice on Sundays. Do I think he starts for the Eagles in meaningful games? I hope not this year as a Hurts believer. I wouldn’t be shocked that (with the right development) he serves as a guy who’s a serviceable backup in the NFL and sticks around for a long while offering good starts and snaps when asked to. You just can’t project a UDFA to be a star in the NFL, I mean you can do *anything* but I choose to not be loud AND wrong. Just loud.
6) Anything to know about him off the field?
The pride of Graham, North Carolina is only going to be outworked by 1 person on this team and that’s Jalen Hurts. When the light clicks on and he knows he has a chance to take advantage of an opportunity the lights stay on. No one will, or should for that matter, question his heart, his dedication anything of the sort. I think we really let our fandom get in the way during the last season that some people didn’t want to risk anything in a pandemic. Opting out shouldn’t be something held against people as a flawed character trait. Last year sucked, man. Jamie is also a proud father to an almost 3-month-old daughter, Nyomi.
BLG’s take: Newman was a nice pickup for the Birds. The Eagles lack an established franchise quarterback so why not take a chance on another lottery ticket? The chances are very much against Newman ever becoming a long-term starter in Philly. Still, it would be a win even if he merely develops into a respectable No. 2 option. It’ll be interesting to see if Newman does enough this offseason to convince the Eagles to keep him on the roster or if they’ll risk leaving him exposed on the practice squad.