In the days and weeks leading up to the NFL Draft, CardinalsSource will profile 30 draft prospects who could end up making their way to Arizona this offseason.
Player: Haason Reddick
Weight: 237 pounds
Arm length: 32 3/4 inches
Hand size: 10 1/8 inches
College stats: 2013: 14 tackles, 4.0 tackles for loss, 1.0 sack, one pass defended, 2014: 24 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, 2.0 sacks, 2015: 46 tackles, 13.0 tackles for loss, 5.0 sacks, one forced fumble, 2016: 65 tackles, 22.5 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks, one interception, three forced fumbles
Strengths: The ultimate late-bloomer, Reddick was a walk-on defensive back at Temple who finally grew into his body and became an edge rusher with the Owls. Though he didn't begin to flourish until his junior season, Reddick put together a pair of impressive campaigns as an edge rusher for the Owls thanks in large part to a high-end motor and top-of-the-line instincts. When Reddick sniffs out a play, he does so with a vengeance, keeping his head and shoulder low to the ground, firing his hips and driving his feet on contact. While many players at the college level like to deliver a big hit and tend to trust their pads more than their arms, Reddick is able to create highlight reel tackles because of his ability to wrap up ball carriers, run his feet forward and drive them to the turf. Surprisingly agile for his 6-foot-1, 237-pound build, Reddick demonstrated the ability to drop into zones and cover areas of the field after lining up along the line of scrimmage, which is important considering many experts believe his natural position in the NFL is at inside, not outside, linebacker.
Weaknesses: For a player considered a first round prospect, there's so many unknowns with Reddick because he's not a player who was a coveted prospect throughout his career and he's likely going to need to change positions at the next level. Is Reddick capable of playing man coverage against backs and tight ends from a 3-4 inside linebacker position? That's a massive uncertainty, and one that an NFL team is going to have to gamble on if they want to take Reddick in the first round. Additionally, how will Reddick learn to read keys from the middle of the defense aligned off the ball as opposed to reading from the perimeter? It's very likely he'll be susceptible to falling for false keys, which could allow offenses to exploit him in the run game. Though we praised Reddick's tackling abilities, we also couldn't help but notice he sometimes takes odd angles to ball carriers on the edge that cause him to fish hook and lose ground, and sometimes, he attempts to swing ball carriers to the ground instead of driving his feet after taking said bad angles.
Reddick's fit: The primary reason Reddick has surged up draft boards since the end of the regular season is because he possesses the type of measurables scouts look for. Reddick is explosive off the edge, plays with power, understands the game and competes at a high level. However, it's unclear exactly how Reddick will fit in the NFL, and that's probably because different teams would use him in different ways. The primary concern we have about Reddick's fit with the Cardinals is whether or not he's going to develop into more than a sub-package player. Is Reddick truly a three-down linebacker who could benefit from transitioning positions behind starter Karlos Dansby? Or is he the type of player who can bulk up a bit, remain an edge rusher and impact the game exclusively on third downs? Because there's not a particularly clear answer, we believe if the Cardinals are in love with the idea of drafting Reddick and making him one of the franchise's important assets in the future, then Arizona should consider trading down a few spots to take him.