In my 2011 Big Board, I rated the defensive ends as follows:
- 1. Robert Quinn, DE/OLB, UNC
- 2. Justin Houston, DE, Georgia
- 3. Da'Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson
- 4. Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa
- 5. Brooks Reed, DE/OLB, Arizona
- 6. Aldon Smith, DE, Missouri
- 7. Sam Acho, DE/OLB, Texas
- 8. Jabaal Sheard, DE, Pitt
- 9. Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue
In my opinion, Bowers, Clayborn and Kerrigan would be poor fits for a 3-4 system. The others would all transition to outside linebacker.
To me, Quinn and Houston are a cut above the rest. I know I’m much higher on Houston than just about anyone, but he appears to be a much safer pick than second-tier players such as Bowers and Clayborn, both of whom have concerns about their body.
At the end of that second tier are Aldon Smith and today’s feature, Brooks Reed. Reed has been flying up boards of late, and if the Cowboys are unsatisfied with their outside linebackers, Reed will be an option.
It’s worth noting that defensive coordinator Rob Ryan thinks highly of the Cowboys’ current outside linebackers, as he should—I graded DeMarcus Ware, Anthony Spencer and Victor Butler as the team’s first-, ninth- and third-most efficient players in 2010, respectively.
As a defensive end in college, Brooks Reed would transition to outside linebacker in the Cowboys’ 3-4 scheme. The major issue with this move would be Reed’s ability to drop into coverage. He hasn’t done it in the past, and I don’t think he’d excel at it in the future. Reed’s later mobility is rather poor, and he doesn’t appear to have great hips.
Nonetheless, Reed has been moving up draft boards due to his insane 1.54 10-yard split at the combine. I don’t see that burst on tape. That isn’t to say Reed is a poor player. He does show some explosion and quickness—just not to that degree. I’d rate his “get-off” as only average.
Reed’s pass-rush arsenal is rather diversified. He possesses solid spin and rip moves, as well as bull and speed rushes. None of these moves is sensational, but all are above average. Reed is an intense, high-motor player who will work hard to improve at the next level.
Against the run, Reed sometimes has trouble shedding blockers. He’s not a liability against the run, but it isn’t the strongest part of his game either. Reed’s production against both the run and the pass was never outstanding.
Overall, Reed seems to be a rather safe pick. His work ethic and solid athleticism make it unlikely he’ll be a bust, which is exactly what you want in a high-round draft pick. If the Cowboys are seeking a rush linebacker with a ton of upside, Reed isn’t their guy.
With Reed projected to possibly go at the end of the first round, he’d be an option for Dallas in the second. I personally don’t think the ‘Boys need an outside linebacker that high, but if Von Miller and Robert Quinn are options in the first round, Reed could be so as well in the second.
Other Potential Dallas Cowboys Draft Picks in 2011