Third Round: 85th Pick
Jordan Reed's emergence as the top pass-catcher for the Florida Gators has caught the eyes of many. A former option quarterback, he displays a great amount of athleticism with the ball in his hands. He'll probably never be a true on-the-line tight end in the NFL, but his ability and experience detaching from the formation and working in space should prove incredibly valuable for any team willing to use him creatively.
+ Dangerous with the ball in his hands
+ Frame to carry more weight
+ Ability to split out as a receiver
- Lacks strength and size
- Technique and effort as a blocker need improvement
- Lack of height may limit red-zone production and inline ability
Best Team Fits
KC, JAX, SD, CAR, GB, HOU, ATL
Tools ( - )
Reed is wide-hipped but seemingly lacks a lot of muscle and definition in his extremities, suggesting he could continue to add size and strength without losing any speed or agility (I’d actually argue there’s a strong possibility of him adding a bit more explosiveness to his game as he gets stronger). As of right now though, Reed is both undersized and not particularly explosive. His athleticism after the catch and ability to detach from the formation and line up as a wide receiver will likely draw many comparisons to his Gator tight end predecessor, Aaron Hernandez. Hernandez, however, was a superior athlete at a bigger size.
An option quarterback in high school, Reed split time between quarterback and tight end in Urban Meyer’s spread option system in 2010. After Meyer left in 2011 and Will Muschamp was hired as head coach, Reed found his permanent home as a “Joker” tight end. He’ll line up at the traditional tight end spot, as a wingback, a slot receiver or outside receiver.
No known arrests or suspensions.
Release ( + )
Because it’s unlikely that Reed will be playing much inline tight end, an NFL team will be able to move him around creatively to get him matched up on smaller defenders who won’t hold him up at the line of scrimmage. When split out, he has shown the agility to give stutter-steps off the line, forcing the defensive back to move his hips and open the gate.
Due to the limitations of his quarterbacks over the last two seasons, Reed has not been afforded the opportunity to run a particularly diverse route three. He does most of his damage on shallow crosses, stick routes and corner routes. Florida also likes to get him the ball on screen passes, where he can use his running skills to pick up yards in space.
Hands/Ball Skills ( + )
Reed displays excellent body control in the air. He has shown the ability to contort his body and make difficult grabs while contesting defensive backs at the catch point. He also displays great sideline awareness, consistently showing that he can come down with his feet in bounds. He makes an effort to adjust to poorly thrown balls, catch with his hands extended away from his frame and does a good job overall of not letting the ball get into his chest. He is much more aggressive going for the ball when detached from the formation and working along the perimeter in space.
Run After Catch ( + )
Agile and acrobatic after the catch, Reed’s background as an option quarterback really shines when he’s able to get the ball in space. He displays impressive stop/start ability and the vision to work through trash on screens. He isn’t quite as explosive as Hernandez was coming out of Florida, but Reed is still a very good athlete and is dangerous with the ball in his hands. Reed has a bad habit of not securing the ball into his body while running in the open field, highlighted by his most infamous play of the season—fumbling while leaping for a go-ahead score against Georgia.
Blocking ( - )
Reed lacks the strength to sustain blocks and his effort is mediocre against front-seven players. He puts his head down, lunges, stops his feet and doesn’t roll his hips through contact when one-on-one. However, he will drive his feet and give good effort when his tandem gets movement on a double-team. He will mix it up with defensive backs when split out as a wide receiver, and he makes key blocks down the field often on big run plays. As a pass-blocker, he plays with too wide of a base and overextends himself, making it difficult to recover against pass-rushers who set him up. He is also prone to playing too tall and getting bull-rushed in both the pass and run game.
Reed will probably be a part-time contributor in his first year or two as he continues to add more muscle and get stronger. However, his athleticism, ball skills and experience detaching from the formation and lining up as a wide receiver will make him an intriguing matchup piece and will give him a role to ease into until he becomes a full-time player. He’s not quite Aaron Hernandez, but they’re very similar players.