The first Arizona player came off the board Friday when the Houston Texans chose Brooks Reed with the 10th pick in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft. Reed will play outside linebacker in the Texans' newly established 3-4 defensive scheme that also includes former UA teammate Earl Mitchell.
Reed worked his way up the draft boards with an impressive combine and a strong pro day. He backed up the workouts with an impressive career at Arizona where he tallied 17 sacks and was a menace in opposing backfields.
Reed's strongest season statistically came in his sophomore campaign. In that season, the former Wildcat compiled 37 tackles, eight sacks, three forced-fumbles and broke up a pair of passes.
He had a down junior campaign – mostly due to a lingering ankle injury – but rebounded to have an impressive senior season in 2010. In his final collegiate campaign, Reed totaled 47 tackles and 6.5 sacks while showing considerable improvement in virtually every other area of his game.
Originally recruited as a fullback, Reed was moved to linebacker after redshirting his freshman campaign and switched to defensive end the following season. His versatility and athleticism should serve him well as he transitions to the NFL. The role of a 3-4 outside linebacker is a bit different than a defensive end in UA's system, but Reed's natural abilities should allow him to learn the position quickly at the next level.
The Texans' defense has established pro bowl talent on defense, but Houston is also going to be running a new scheme under defensive coordinator Wade Phillips and there is going to be a transition period for the squad. That could be a good sign for a player like Reed, who was selected specifically to play the role of pass-rusher in the Texans' defense.
Reed will likely battle with players like Xavier Adibi and fellow 2011 draft choice J.J. Watt for playing time off the edge. In the Texans' system, Reed should start off as a pass-rusher but he is a very coachable player with a track record of putting in long hours in the weight room and being an exceptional student of the game.
Reed has often drawn comparisons to Green Bay Packers star Clay Matthews and it is more than just the hair. They have similar builds, work ethic and style of play. Given Phillips' track record for developing players in the front-seven, Reed has an excellent chance to be considered as one of the steals of the draft when people look back on it a few years from now.
Brooks Reed drafted in second round
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