Reed lacks the frame you look for in a defensive end, but for a possible move to linebacker, he has a short, compact frame with adequate musculature definition. His biggest physical drawback is his size. As a linebacker, he shows a good bubble, long arms, tight waist and good lower body thickness, but is by far not a physical specimen.
Reed is an athletic mover with good speed for a rush end, showing adequate agility and change of direction skills. He has good balance and body control working down the line and manages to play on his feet, even when knocked around by the bigger offensive linemen….GRADE-5.7
Reed is a smart, heady player who learns football well and plays with valid instincts. He will bust on occasion, but is a minimal reps type that will have no problem dealing with the mental aspect of the game…GRADE-6.4
Reed is a good program player, clean off the field and active within the community. He comes from a split, but very supportive family. He is mature for his age and football is very important to him. He is not the type that you will find getting involved in foolish college pranks and takes a strong business-like approach to everything that he does…GRADE-6.3
Reed plays with steady effort and good intensity from the snap until the whistle on every play. He improved his stamina during the 2008 off-season, but there are still times when he will run out of gas late in games. He is the type that if he is headed in the right direction, he will generally close on the pocket. He plays with a high motor and has a nice array of moves (especially the spin) to slip and avoid blocks on the move. He really hustles to the ball and his ability to explode off the edge will se him stunt from both ends of the line…GRADE-6.0
Reed is not a rah-rah type of player, but is a responsible team leader who will not hesitate to get vocal in the huddle, if needed. He prefers to lead by example and to that end he will usually be the first guy in to any team function or meeting. He shows good focus in the training room, in practices and in games…GRADE-6.2
Key and Diagnostic Skills
Reed is an active, intuitive player with good field instincts in finding the ball, especially on running plays. He is a quick reactor who might blow an assignment, but will work hard to get back into the play. He shows good ability to read hats when working down the line and while he will get tied up if an offensive lineman latches on, he knows how to vary his speed and moves so a blocker doesn't feel confident they can contain him…GRADE-6.4
Playing Strength and Explosion
Reed has good upper-body strength and a strong hand punch, but lacks the lower body power to split double teams or anchor well vs. the bigger blockers. He will get engulfed when trying to work the inside gaps, but when he keeps his hands active, he can stuff and shed playing the rush lanes. He is good at slipping and avoiding blocks, but if tagged by the lineman, the battle is over. He is effective taking on the lead block to stuff the hole, making him a possible better fit as an inside linebacker in a 3-4 alignment. He just needs to avoid bigger blockers, as they usually tie him up at the Xs…GRADE-5.9
Reed shows a very quick spin move that he uses regularly to gain penetration. He slides behind the line efficiently working through trash, but when he gets pushed out taking a wide rush, he lacks the speed to recover. He generally plays with good leverage and does a pretty decent job of scraping downhill for a player his size. He just knows how to play to the flow of the ball and that is why he was used often on stunts and games. When he stays low in his pads, he has good success getting through traffic to make the play (see 2008 Purdue, UCLA and Oregon State games)…GRADE-6.2
Use of Hands
Reed does not use his hands well in rare times he had to cover a tight end. He can adequately use them to ward off smaller blockers, but his punch is not going to put an offensive lineman on the ground. He has the reach to separate, but if a lineman gets a piece of his jersey, he struggles to shed. He has better upper-body strength than in his lower frame and when he gets a hand on the ball carrier, he does an effective job to wrap and secure…GRADE-5.5
Reed has good rip moves to play off blocks and chase down ball carriers along the edge. He scrapes hard to the hole on inside runs and plays with leverage on the lead blocker, but will get "out-bigged" by a down lineman, lacking the anchor to prevent from being put on his rump. He is not much of an explosive striker, but will wrap and secure if he is able to get position first. He will miss in space when he fails to come to balance. He can make plays by taking a chance, but runs more of a risk of getting cut off or coming up short, as he does not do a great job of protecting his legs from low blocks…GRADE-5.8
Reed needs to be on the move to be effective here. He can scrape to the hole and clog up the lead blocker, but bigger men toss him around like a "hot potato" sometimes. He generally has good balance working outside the box, taking proper angles with a decent short area burst to get to the ball. He seems to have a good sense for where the ball is going, but because of his size, he runs under blocks with mixed results. He shows marginal hand usage to shed blockers in the trenches, limiting him to making plays vs. the run from the outside more effective. Even there, he does not always come under control to wrap and take down…GRADE-5.5
This is still an area that should be considered a work in progress, as it is rare to see him handle pass coverage assignments, except for a few plays here and there on short area routes by the ball carrier and tight end. He gives up some height to the bigger tight ends and does not show great leaping ability or timing to high point the ball (just two pass break-ups in 50 games). He does show some awareness and moving skills to disrupt the passing lanes and discourage throws, though. He has enough speed to cover backs out of the backfield, but he does appear a little tight in his turning motion when coming out of his breaks…GRADE-5.6
Pass Rush and Blitz
Reed is quick and aggressive coming off the edge. He has a good array of rush moves and knows how to vary his speed to get the offensive lineman off balance. He stunts quite a bit and has had decent success slipping under blocks when attacking through the inside gaps. He shows good timing and burst to close on the pocket and is active with his feet to avoid and spin away from blockers on the move. He will hit or bounce the QB with leverage, keeping balance to finish the play. What separates him from most is the way he can easily anticipate the snap, compensating for having just good speed by getting off the line just a fraction of a second before the blocker can position. When he finds the rush lane, he has the burst to flush out and pressure the quarterback and a move to middle linebacker could be beneficial, as he can bring the heat on the blitz…GRADE-8.0
PARYS HARALSON-San Francisco…It took a few years for Haralson to acclimate to playing linebacker before emerging and Reed brings the same qualities to the table. At worst, he will be an efficient edge rusher and special teams coverage defender early in his NFL career, but there is just something about him that says he has "it" to put together a pretty decent pro career, whether in the middle (his ability to react to the play and recognize blocking schemes) or at the strong-side (to take advantage of his pass rushing skills). The trick is getting him experience in pass coverage before a team can trust him as an every down player, but he is the type of guy that can grow with a patient team, later in the draft.
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. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
Scouting Report: Nick Reed
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