Ex-Redskins DB DeAngelo Hall: I'd Take Healthy Jordan Reed over Rob Gronkowski

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMay 29, 2020

Washington Redskins tight end Jordan Reed (86) in action against the New York Giants during an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018, in East Rutherford, N.J. The Redskins won 20-13. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
Adam Hunger/Associated Press

Former NFL cornerback DeAngelo Hall ranked the five best players he ever suited up with for NFL.com on Thursday, putting tight end Jordan Reed at No. 5.

Hall's praise for Reed was effusive, saying he was tougher to cover than Rob Gronkowski:

"Reed was unguardable when he was at full health, which, unfortunately, wasn't often. I can say with full confidence that I'd take a healthy Reed over almost every single tight end I've ever played against—even Rob Gronkowski. Gronk is a great player, but he didn't strike fear into me at the line of scrimmage. He's big and physical, but I knew Gronk could never run by me. Reed could run by defenders on every play thanks, in large part, to his basketball background. I'm telling you, basketball guys who play football are different animals."

When healthy, Reed was excellent, but taking him over Gronkowski is a pretty spicy opinion. 

Reed's best year came in 2015, when he set career highs in games played (14), receptions (87), receiving yards (952) and touchdowns (11). Per game, Reed averaged 6.2 catches, 68 receiving yards and 0.7 touchdowns.

Gronkowski, meanwhile, had one season with more than 87 receptions, four seasons with more than 952 receiving yards and four seasons with 11 or more touchdowns (and five seasons with double-digit touchdowns). 

His best season came in 2011, when he set career highs in receptions (90), receiving yards (1,327) and touchdowns (17) in 16 games. His per-game averages that season come out to 5.6 receptions, 82.9 receiving yards and a touchdown per game. 

So peak Gronk, at the very least, was more productive than peak Reed, and while Gronkowski had injury concerns of his own throughout his career, he was also much more consistently excellent. 

Now, Reed supporters can make the valid argument that Gronkowski had arguably the greatest quarterback in history, Tom Brady, throwing him passes. Reed, meanwhile, played with Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins, Alex Smith and Colt McCoy, among others. There aren't any Hall of Famers in that group. 

Whether a healthy Reed could have become one of the game's great tight ends is a prime "what if?" from this generation of players. There's no question he had the talent to be a superstar and to perhaps even be remembered in the same tier of tight ends as Gronkowski. Injuries deprived him of that chance.

But his former teammate, Hall, is showing him the love. The rest of Hall's list included wide receiver DeSean Jackson, Hall of Fame defensive end Jason Taylor, linebacker London Fletcher and quarterback Michael Vick.