We always knew the third-round pick out of Florida had the physical ability, but he's actually delivering on the field far before anyone expected. In fact, he's been so good as of late that his play has rendered 27-year-old veteran tight end Fred Davis useless and dispensable, which makes Bruce Allen and Mike Shanahan look particularly clever for the way in which they handled the team's tight end situation this past offseason.
Despite the fact that Davis put up nearly 800 yards in only 12 games in 2011 and was on pace to hit that range again before suffering a season-ending Achilles injury in 2012, the 'Skins refused to give him a long-term deal in each of the last two offseasons.
And then they went out and spent a third-round pick on Reed, who didn't appear to fill an immediate hole.
With Reed now on fire after a nine-catch, 134-yard performance in a victory over the Chicago Bears, Davis has reportedly become trade bait. He has just three catches and 25 yards this season, and he's played just 24 snaps since Week 2. An ankle injury has factored in, but he was basically a healthy scratch after being inactive despite entering Week 7 with a "probable" label.
That's how confident they are in Reed. They know Logan Paulsen can handle major blocking assignments, especially on non-passing downs, and it looks as though they'd prefer Reed to Davis the rest of the time. Meanwhile, Niles Paul can play special teams, which means Davis' services are essentially no longer required.
Few of us expected Reed to emerge this quickly. In the big picture, his breakout game came against the Bears on Sunday. In that game, all nine of the passes Robert Griffin III threw Reed's way were caught by the 23-year-old Florida product. On the rest of his passes, RGIII was only 9-of-20.
However, Reed has actually been killing it for several weeks. He's put up at least 50 yards in each of his last three games, and he's caught 83.9 percent of the passes Griffin has thrown to him. That ranks first among all NFL tight ends who have been targeted at least 10 times, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required).
#Redskins found themselves a special weapon in the MOF in Jordan Reed. Should be doing everything they can to target him as much as possible— Louis Riddick (@LRiddickESPN) October 15, 2013
He's dropped two of those passes, which isn't great, but isn't enough to be problematic. And he's made up for that by compiling a solid 132 yards after the catch while chipping in as a decent blocker when needed. Again, Paulsen is the primary blocking tight end on the roster, but Reed hasn't given up a single pressure as a pass-blocker, according to PFF. He's fared well for a rookie run-blocker, too.
Plus, he's extremely athletic and a pleasure to watch. The move he pulled against Barry Church on this 29-yard catch-and-run was special:
In fact, he's on pace to tie the modern-day NFL record for receiving yards in a season by a rookie tight end.
|Tight end||Year||Receptions||Rec. yards||Touchdowns|
|Jordan Reed's pace||2013||78||894||6|
Pro Football Reference
Pro Football Reference
Considering that he and that Redskins offense should only continue to improve, I think we'd better get used to hearing his name among groups like those.