Draft Exclusive 31: Packers Work Out Reed

Green Bay put standout Arizona defender Brooks Reed through a linebacker-focused workout on Wednesday. Packer Report has the scoop from the hard-charging first-round prospect, who we talked to in an exclusive interview on Wednesday evening.

The Green Bay Packers worked out their potential first-round pick, Arizona's Brooks Reed, on Wednesday in Tucson, Ariz.

Reed, a defensive end in the Wildcats' 4-3 scheme, went through what he called a short and "clean" workout full of linebacker drills as the Packers try to determine whether he's a fit as an outside linebacker in their 3-4 scheme.

The Packers' West Coast scout, Sam Seale, ran the workout. Also participating were fellow outside linebacker candidates Ricky Elmore and D'Aundre Reed.

"I think it's a great position," Reed told Packer Report in an exclusive interview on Wednesday. "I think it's a position that you have to be great at all three phases of the game — rushing the passer, playing the run and obviously coverage, which is something that's somewhat new to me. I think I could do that. I think I'm a pretty complete football player, although there are things I can work on and get better at. In general, I can bring pass rush to the table and I can play run and I'm athletic enough to drop into coverage. I know there's going to be a learning curve at that position because I've been playing defensive end for three years straight and we did very little of drops, so that's something I'll have to get used to."

The 6-foot-3, 260-pound Reed recorded 6.5 sacks as a senior and won first-team all-conference honors. To get ready for the Scouting Combine, he worked out and studied with API's Barry Gardner, a former NFL linebacker, to learn the tricks of the trade as a 3-4 outside linebacker. Reed said a "couple" of teams running 4-3 defenses like him as an end but it's a pretty good bet that he'll be playing linebacker in a 3-4 scheme.

"(Gardner) taught me a lot of secondary stuff, stuff that a defensive end wouldn't really know or care to know," Reed said. "It was a great learning experience for me. I have a pretty good base (of knowledge), so right now, I'm working out with Ricky Elmore and D'Aundre Reed."

Making the move to linebacker wouldn't be the first position move of Reed's career. Upon arriving at Arizona, Reed was given a choice of playing either fullback or defensive end — his two positions at Tucson's Sabino High School. At 218 pounds, Reed said his choice was easy.

"I just wanted to carry the rock so I chose fullback," he said with a laugh.

After a redshirt season, Reed had bulked up and the coaches moved him to defense, a change he embraced.

Flash forward to three weeks before the draft, and Reed is a definite possibility for the Packers at the end of the first round. He's been compared frequently to the Packers' Clay Matthews, starting from the obvious physical trait (his long, blond hair) and his on-the-field characteristics (relentless pursuit of the ball-carrier and lightning-fast get-off at the snap).

"I really respect his game," Reed said. "He's a very hard worker and he's got a great motor. I just got done watching some tape of his during some free time. It's always fun watching him because it's something that there's a pretty good chance I'll be doing — coming off the edge or covering a receiver in the flats. Clay Matthews, man, he's a tremendous athlete and I only wish I could be close to as great as he is."

Reed had a formal interview with the Packers at the Combine and said he talked to representatives of the Packers on several occasions there. While there, he talked to outside linebackers coach Kevin Greene, calling it "pretty awesome." Reed said Greene was one of the few people he had really looked forward to meeting.

The jury is out on whether Reed is a first-round prospect. Either way, in about three weeks, his NFL dreams will become reality.

"It's kind of surreal and it's been something I've trained for for a long time," he said. "It's really become a reality this past year, and just all the great things that have happened to me and staying healthy and just meeting great people. Now that I have a chance to get drafted and try out for a team, it's a dream come true.

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport.

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