While quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (Harvard) will be vying for a back-up job with the Houston Texans, and offensive lineman Kevin Boothe (Cornell) hopes to earn a starting job on the Oakland Raiders' front wall, none of the other five taken before the last draft made any impact in the league.
The 2013 draft was a rarity, as three Ivy Leaguers heard their phones ring. J.C. Tretter (Cornell) was taken in the fourth round, but was sidelined all year with an injury. He is hoping to convince Green Bay coaches that he can fill their vacancy at center this season.
Fullback Kyle Juszczyk (Harvard) also went in the fourth round, spending the 2013 season performing on special teams for Baltimore.
Defensive end Mike Catapano (Princeton) was the league's third player to enter the league last season, as the seventh-rounder saw brief action with the Kansas City Chiefs and hopes to increase that limited playing time during his second pro season. He also hopes that he will be joined by his close friend, Princeton's standout defensive tackle Caraun Reid, who, unlike his fellow league alumni, should receive more than a "cup of coffee" from whatever team selects him in the 2014 draft.
Based on his college career and followed by stellar postseason performances in all-star games, at the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine and during Princeton's Pro Day, the bishop's son could be in line for a much earlier selection than any Ivy Leaguer since the turn of the century — as most teams project the physical run stuffer to be off the board in the third round.
Reid became the school's first two-time All-American first-team honoree in 20 years, and just the sixth in school history to receive multiple national honors. The standout defensive tackle, who was a finalist for Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2013, is also just the third Tiger to ever receive All-Ivy League honors three times.
Most of the team's recent success corresponds to his arrival on campus five years ago. After observing a squad during his sophomore campaign that recorded a 1-9 record while Reid was sidelined with a torn pectoral, he would culminate his career by guiding the team to their 10th Ivy League title and the school's first since the 2006 campaign.
No fewer than 36 Tigers have seen action in the professional ranks. One of the more well-known recent Princeton graduates are quarterback Jason Garrett, who earned Super Bowl rings with the Dallas Cowboys in the 1992 and 1993 seasons and who was named NFC Offensive Player of the Week after he led the Cowboys over the Green Bay Packers on Thanksgiving Day 1994. Garrett also played for the New Orleans Saints in 1989. His brother, John Garrett, played for the Cincinnati Bengals in 1989.
Reid's final season ended in brilliant fashion, as the team recorded an 8-2 record, won the Ivy League title and the defensive tackle again walked away with All-American and All-Ivy League accolades. He posted just 26 tackles, but tied for the league title with 6.5 sacks and was third with a team-high 11 stops-for-loss playing for a front wall that yielded just 126.5 yards per game to opposing ball-carriers.
Reid was invited to play in the prestigious 2014 Senior Bowl. He would become just the 10th Ivy League player to compete in that game, and the first since Dartmouth wide receiver David Shula in 1980 (note — Tretter was injured in 2012 practice and did not play). Reid was also just the second Princeton Tiger to play in that contest, the first being tackle Hollie Donan in 1950.
To say that Reid helped his draft stock during the weeklong practices in Mobile leading up to the game would be an understatement. Most small-college players just appreciate the opportunity to "lunch" with the major-college talent, but Reid was what Dan Ackroyd said in the movie, The Blues Brothers, "a man on a mission."
The highlight was the final practice before scouts left Alabama, as he put linemen on the ground on six consecutive plays, thanks to flashing heavy hands and what the scouts call, the ability to battle in a "phone booth." He capped the week with sacks on back-to-back plays during the game, showing the lateral burst and closing speed to project nicely as a three-technique defensive tackle.
Princeton University Tigers
Reid has a stout, compact frame with wide shoulders, thick chest, good muscle development in his arms and upper body, with a big bubble, wide rear, high calves and thick thighs. He has the wide hips and lower-leg strength to anchor at the point of attack. His arm length (33-inches) and wing span (79 3/8-inches) help him stave off reach blocks, and he has large hands (10 1/2-inches) with a strong punch to shock and jolt.
Reid is a quick and explosive run container (timed at 4.91 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine) who plays with nonstop effort. He is a short stepper who does a very good job of using his upper-body strength and lower-frame power to collapse the offensive line and occupy multiple blockers. He gets into the blockers with good urgency and shows adequate hip flexibility and lower-body quickness to make plays moving down the line (see 2012 Brown and Dartmouth; 2013 Lafayette, Harvard and Dartmouth games). He plays stout at the point of attack and uses his hands well to keep blockers away from his chest. When he stays low in his pads, he gains leverage and shows strength and explosion coming off the snap.
Reid is able to pick up blocking schemes quickly (pre-med student). He is not the type that will bite on play action and misdirection. He knows how to take proper angles when chasing down ball-carriers in the backfield and is the type that will not have problems digesting a complicated playbook. He anticipates the plays well and does a good job flowing to the ball along the line.
Reid is a "never back down from anything" type. He has sacrificed personal success to play the role of "trash man" for the Tigers, using his power and frame to constantly take on double teams in order for a freed-up teammate to make the play (see 2013 Lafayette and Dartmouth games). He is an all-out battler in tight quarters and shows enough functional quickness to make plays outside the box while also generating good urgency in pursuit. When he gets in a groove, he simply overpowers and wears down the blockers with his leg drive and combative nature.
Being an interior line defender, Reid has very good initial quickness and enough speed to make plays in long pursuit (see 2013 Georgetown, Harvard and Dartmouth; 2012 Brown games). He gets his hands up quickly and with force when engaging blockers in one-on-one battles and knows how to keep his hands active to get an edge on the offensive linemen. Once he gains advantage, his strength allows him to keep it. For a player of his size, he shows a very good first step off the snap. He can gain advantage and shows suddenness getting to the gaps. He is very quick with his feet to get a good push into the blocker and you can see during his senior year that he is doing a much better job of using his hands when protecting his legs. When working down the line, he shows above-average movement skills.
Strength at Point
Reid might not have the 330-pound frame you look for to be a nose guard, but he has above average upper-body strength and that strong anchor to split double teams and collapse the offensive line from a conventional 4-3 strong-side tackle position. He has become more conscious of using his hands to play off blocks and keeps them active when working across the face of an offensive lineman. He will engage and shed with good force and shows a surprising motor in short area pursuit. When he gets into the hole, he delivers that strong hand punch to clog the rush lanes and push back the lead blocker (teams have recorded just 15 first downs on 155 rushing attempts vs. him). He is very hard to block coming off the ball and even if the blocker gets into his body, Reid is not the type the offensive guards can hold for long. He knows how to get underneath to get a piece of the blocker's pads and is very effective stacking and controlling in one-on-one situations.
Use of Hands
Reid has that hand punch to consistently rock blockers back on their heels. He is more of a collision-type tackler, and he uses his hands well to get in the rush lanes and make the play by getting off blocks cleanly. Even when he short arms, he can still control blockers with his upper body strength. He shows quick hand technique and an effective arm cross over move in pass rush attempts. The added strength was evident in 2013, as he had very good success occupying multiple blockers on a consistent basis (while his tackle figures were only 26 hits in 2013, he made 11 of them behind the line of scrimmage).
Reid has good balance and functional quickness working down the line, but is better served in inside run containment that giving chase in long pursuit. He plays with good effort to string plays wide (see 2013 Georgetown and Harvard; 2012 Brown and Dartmouth games). He plays until the whistle, staying in control while getting over and around most trash. With his low center of gravity, his opponents have had a hard time executing scoop and fold blocks vs. him, as he showed the quickness to loop behind the offensive linemen to drive the lead blocker back through the gaps.
Reid spends most of his time occupying multiple blockers to free up a teammate to make the play, but has enough power to get the ball-carrier down on initial contact. He can deliver an explosive punch in closed quarters and there is no leakage working inside. He might get a little out of control and miss in space, at times, but he is a very effective tackler when stationed inside the box. Consistently fitting and finishing at the point of attack, he has above average strength to lock up and enough quickness to combine with his power to make explosive tackles. When he attacks a ball-carrier, he punishes them.
Reid is very stout vs. the inside run. He does a fine job of clogging the rush lanes and using the lead blocker to generate gap containment. He relishes his role in holding up, clogging and disrupting the inside rush lanes (see 2013 Dartmouth; 2012 Brown games). He stacks well at the point of attack and uses that excellent low center of gravity to leverage (see 2013 Georgetown and Lafayette games). He might be shorter and lighter than most nose guards at the NFL level, but I don't see him having problems playing the two-gap and he does a nice job of keeping his feet free on the move. He plays with leverage thanks to his strength to hold ground firmly and while he is not used often to make plays up field, he plays with good effort when giving chase.
Reid is rarely asked to generate a pass rush, but he does have success when capturing the quarterback on his inside gap pursuits (see 2013 Columbia, Lafayette, Pennsylvania and Dartmouth games). He gives good effort on the times he does penetrate, but is not an upfield edge type that will consistently attack the pocket. He will create problems when single blocked, as he uses his hands well to get an edge on the blocker, but seems better served in executing chase downs from the bull rush. He is just not the type than can swiftly turn the corner and generate explosive backside pursuit.
Closing on the Quarterback
Reid is good disrupting the pocket when single blocked (see 2013 Dartmouth and 2012 Brown games), but spends lots of his time occupying multiple blockers than charging into the backfield. He has the foot quickness to shoot the gaps, but is more of the type that will force the quarterback out of the pocket than sack his opponent (five pressures in 2013 resulted in three turnovers, including Reid picking off a pass vs. Cornell). His improved stamina in 2013 was evident in his acceleration closing on the passer, as his five hurries as a senior almost equaled his total (six) from his first four years (medical redshirt after tearing his pectoral muscle in the 2010 season opener) in the Princeton program.
Reid is quick to move to the ball once he locates it working through trash. He recognizes blocking schemes and has good reactionary quickness to keep opponents from taking him off his feet. The thing I like on film is his ability to stay in control, yet generate the burst to close on the ball quickly (see 2013 Georgetown, Harvard and Dartmouth games). He feels the play develop and will fight until the whistle. He has shown marked improvement using his hands to split double teams and protect his feet from cut blocks when taking the A/B gaps in 2013.
BARRY COFIELD, Washington: Reid possesses good quickness, strength and vision. He is not as wide-bodied as Cofield, but both show good hand usage to split double teams and shoot the gap when providing run containment. He will never be the type that will chase down quarterbacks from the backside, but he is quick and sudden to get an edge on a blocker. He is stout at the point of attack and keeps leverage thanks to his ability to maintain free feet (uses his hands to fend off low blocks).
Reid has become an NFL-caliber run stuffer, as he learned to use his strength and hands to have very good success splitting double teams. He excels at reading blocks and tracking the ball on the move. He has above-average initial quickness and leverage, combining them with his strength to hold ground firmly at the point of attack and clog the rush lanes (teams have recorded only 15 first downs on 155 carries targeted right at him).
The Princeton product is never going to be confused for an "up the edge" type of player, but has those powerful, active hands to control blockers and compete with good success vs. double teams. He has the reach to keep blockers away from his body and uses them with force to remain free on the play. He keeps his feet and is a strong inside tackler and even shows good ability to finish in space. He has functional change-of-direction agility with a nice initial burst when closing on in-line plays and the hip snap and lateral agility to assist in making tackles outside the box.
Reid runs to the ball with good urgency and plays with 100% effort to contribute in pursuit. Against the pass, he showed in 2013 that he is able to get a good push off the blocker to walk his man back into the pocket. He is not used at all to rush from the edge, but like the Redskins' Cofield, he could get free and make it into the backfield in time to generate pressure needed to disrupt the pocket.
Dave-Te' Thomas has more than 40 years of experience scouting for the NFL. With the NFL Draft Report, Thomas handles a staff that evaluates and tests college players before the draft and prepares the NFL's official Draft Packet, which is distributed to all 32 teams prior to the draft.