A lot has been made of Chip Kelly's love for multiple tight end sets, and with the addition of James Casey and subtraction of Stanley Havili, there is definitely a feel among fans that two-tight end sets will be a staple of this team going forward. With Casey and incumbent starter Brent Celek, the unit seems pretty set as far as starters go, but what about those special toys that Chip and Co. will want to trot out for some mismatches? Clay Harbor has obviously rubbed some fans the wrong way (Editor's Note: I am not one of them) and needs some serious competition. Enter: Florida's Jordan Reed.
I got the desire to write this scouting profile after I read that Greg Cosell shared my intrigue with Reed. Cosell makes the obvious caparison between Reed and fellow UF alum and current New England Patriot, Aaron Hernandez. Cosell believes Reed is the next "joker" tight end in the NFL, something Hernandez has been successful at and Chip Kelly has been rumored to covet.
At 6'2" and 236 lbs, Reed is a bit taller and lighter than Hernandez (6'1," 245 lbs), but played a similar role (slot WR and H-back) to his former teammate. Reed came to Florida in 2009 as a quarterback and was redshirted his freshman year. The next season, he played as mostly a backup at multiple positions (QB, RB, WR, TE) and had just six catches for 79 yards. Then as a sophomore, he started 10 of 11 games at wide receiver and tight end, collecting 28 catches for 307 yards. As a redshirt junior, Reed really emerged in Gainesville in 2012. He was named First Team All-SEC at tight end after catching 45 balls for 559 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Draft analysts love what Reed brings as far as versatility and athleticism are concerned. CBS Sports says "Reed is a fluid and flexible athlete with smooth body control and controlled balance. He flashes WR moves after the catch with quick, elusive feet and deceiving speed to run away from defenders." While NFL.com says Reed is "very smooth in breaks on outside breaking routes. Shines with the ball in hand, makes moves in space like a big running back with agility. Consistently makes oncoming defenders miss with hops, cuts, or speed."
Much like with Hernandez, analysts praise Reed's ability to grab the ball out of the air. NFL.com says Reed has a "good mix of hands catching and letting it into his body against tight coverage." While CBS adds "He has reliable hands and does a nice job holding onto the ball after a big hit, proving his ability and toughness over the middle of the field."
With Reed's lankiness, he does have his warts. According to NFL.com, Reed "fails to get over the face of the defensive end when reach blocking. Footwork is not consistent or sustained often enough when blocking, causes him to go to the ground." CBS explains that Reed "lacks an ideal frame with only average height and build for the position and needs to continue to add bulk to his body. He has room to improve his route-running and needs to continue to develop his receiving skills at the position." Both also mention that his health has been a concern over his college career.
Both websites compare Reed to (who else?) Hernandez. Both went to high school in Connecticut before landing with the Gators and are kings of the mismatch. CBS projects Reed as a 3rd or 4th round pick. NFL.com has him ranked as its 3rd-best tight end, behind Notre Dame's Tyler Eifert and Stanford's Zach Ertz.
Jordan Reed is a lanky mismatch for most linebackers and safeties. He has wide receiver hands, quarterback intelligence and H-back blocking ability. He is able to get open with relative ease and while he has a likely limited route tree, tends to feel out coverage as a he runs through traffic. While he did not score a lot in college, at times, he really worked the redzone to his advantage. He has great YAC ability and is a willing but not natural blocker.
Reed was a safety valve last year for the Gators and has a lot of gadget ability. His lack of positional experience becomes evident at times, because of his lack of awareness. He will drop the occasional pass and fumbled a surefire touchdown against Georgia that basically cost Florida the game in 2012. He has to work on his blocking but does have a foundation at least. He will be used frequently on screens at the next level.
I am a fan of Reed and think he a very special talent for a team that can really take advantage of his skills. Coach Kelly is likely salivating over this kid in the fourth, but I think he is taken no later than the third.
Take a look at some of Reed's game cut-ups to better understand his talent.
Now that you know and have seen more from Reed, would you be down to add him in the middle rounds?