The New York Jets already added outside linebacker help with the addition of IK Enemkpali in the sixth round, but Utah product Trevor Reilly provided too much value both on and off the field to pass up at this point.
A walk-on safety at Utah, Reilly has found his niche as a do-it-all outside linebacker who can potentially play the position in either a 3-4 or a 4-3.
Reilly has good height at 6'5", but he is a bit light at 245 pounds. If he is going to play outside linebacker in a 3-4, he needs to pack on at least 10 pounds of lean weight to hold up in the run game.
Despite the fact that he will need to put on some weight, Reilly has good functional strength, able to stack and shed to defend the run. Reilly plays at a fast pace, able to locate the ball and react quickly to what he sees. He does not waste extra movement trying to diagnose what is in front of him.
Where Reilly falls short is his natural athletic ability, which is typical of a seventh-round prospect. He does not move well laterally, which would make him a liability in coverage at the NFL level. Asking him to run with tight ends is asking for trouble, as he labors to flip his hips to run down the seam. The fact that he had arthroscopic surgery on his knee after the season certainly scared teams away from drafting him earlier.
Another element going against Reilly is his age. At 26, Reilly's upside is limited, and he will have to produce immediately to be worth the time of an NFL team. Unlike most rookies, he does not have the luxury to develop for two or three years—by then he will be knocking on the door of turning 30 years old.
Smart, dependable and productive, Reilly is a classic Rex Ryan project player who is reminiscent of Jim Leonhard. Ryan will find a spot for Reilly on the team, but where exactly that is remains to be seen.
Reilly has the size of an inside linebacker, the skill set of an outside linebacker and the intelligence of a safety. Whatever position Reilly winds up in will depend on how easily he is able to put on weight without it affecting his game.
Regardless of what position he plays, Reilly will definitely have an impact on special teams early in his career. From there, the Jets can mold him into whatever they want based on how their needs play out.
While there is a lot of uncertainty as to what type of player Reilly will become in the NFL, his intangibles and production make him worth the pick this late in the draft, if for nothing else than his contagious work ethic.