Brooks Reed, DE, Arizona Wildcats
Brooks Reed posted the fastest ten-yard split (1.54) of any defensive lineman at the Combine, demonstrating explosive speed and quickness. He's a pass rusher through and through who knows how to get after the quarterback. He's athletic and uses his agility to pressure the quarterback or disrupt plays in the backfield. He works well coming off the edge, but can also bull rush some smaller linemen.
He knows how to get leverage and plays low so as not to be pushed around. He demonstrates good pass rush moves and has used several to get to opposing quarterbacks. Reed plays with a high level of intensity and is a good defender against the run. He shows good football instincts and plays with a high motor on every play.
Reed has limited experience as a linebacker at the collegiate level. Considering many see him as making a full-time switch to linebacker, this may lead some to have reservations about spending a first round pick on Reed if they think he'll have to develop. Dropping back into coverage is a specific area in which he'd need to work. He wouldn't be the first college end to make the switch to linebacker, though.
He struggles at times to get off blocks and can remain locked up for too long, taking him out of the play. There are plays that he over pursues the ball carrier and he could stand to improve his defense when he's in space. For such a quick burst, Reed doesn't get off the snap as fast as one would expect. He does not possess the ideal size of a 4-3 defensive end, which is why so many consider him a good candidate to make the switch to linebacker.
Reed is projected as a 3-4 outside linebacker or a 4-3 end. He could play either position and opinions differ as to which position suits him best. There have also been those who have suggested Reed play as a two-down strong-side linebacker and third-down edge rusher at defensive end, a suggestion Reed acknowledged would be a possibility in a February 25 interview with DraftBreakdown.com.
He recorded eight sacks and 9.5 tackles for loss as a sophomore in 2008, two sacks and five tackles for loss as a junior in 2009 and 6.5 sacks and ten tackles for loss as a senior. He was a team captain and was named first team All-Pac 10 in 2010. Was an H-back when he first arrived on campus and moved to defense in 2007 after redshirting in 2006.
Potential NFL Team, Round
Reed benefited from a tremendous performance at the NFL Scouting Combine. Not many people really knew who he was before the Combine, which may be attributed to playing at a school known more for its basketball program than its football program like Arizona, although the Wildcats have been players in the Pac-10 the last two seasons. His draft stock shot up quickly and he's now a fringe first round prospect who could hear his name called anywhere from the bottom of the first to the middle of the second.
The New England Patriots, with the 17th, 28th and 33rd overall selections, may take a look at Reed as a pass rusher, while the New York Jets could take a look with the 29th overall selection. Both of these teams run 3-4 defenses, though, where Reed would likely be used as an outside linebacker. Teams will also look at him as a 4-3 end, so a team that runs the 4-3 alignment like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (20th), New Orleans Saints (24th) or Atlanta Falcons (27th) may give him a look as well, or several teams at the top of the second round may consider his services like the Cincinnati Bengals (35th), Denver Broncos (36th) and Cleveland Browns (37th). The Washington Redskins (41st), who run a 3-4 defense, may be looking to add a rush linebacker, too.
Danny Hobrock, is a sports journalist covering NCAA Football and MLB. An NCAA Football On-Air Personality, Danny is the editor of our college football content. Danny's college football work has garnered national attention and has been critically acclaimed. You may email Danny directly @ [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @ DannyHobrock
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