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NFL Draft analysis: What the Cardinals are getting in Haason Reddick

The Arizona Cardinals' first round draft pick will provide the organization with a flexible defensive player who can help the team as both an inside and outside linebacker and make an impact as a sub-package player immediately.

Player: Haason Reddick

Height: 6-foot-1

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, but it's a gamble the Cardinals can live with if Reddick can use his athleticism as a sub-package pass-rusher. 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 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 will 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 isn't a clear answer, we felt the Cardinals could have attempted to trade down and take Reddick in the late teens or early 20s in the first round. Nevertheless, the franchise clearly likes his versatility and thinks the flexibility he can bring to a traditional 3-4 look and the team's nickel package were worth the risk of taking him with the 13th pick. Our closing thought: Reddick is a much better fit for Arizona's scheme than Alabama's Reuben Foster. Though Foster may make a bigger impact in the NFL during his rookie season, Reddick has a higher ceiling to work with and could thrive in the future if the Cardinals find creative ways to use him. 


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