Everyday until the 2013 NFL Draft, Coleman and I will be bringing you scouting reports, podcasts and other content, examining prospects that we have a particular interest in, whether it be affinity or disdain.
On today’s plate is Jordan Reed, a tight end from the University of Florida.
-Breathtaking in the open field
-Very solid hands on plays that are developed for him to get the ball
-Impressive route runner for a man of his size
-Horrid blocker. Unacceptable at any level. Cannot play inline.
-Awkward tracking of the ball.
-Seems to fight the ball when he isn’t thrown in stride.
-Will be a project for a team that doesn’t have a perfect plan for him.
Reed is going to end up being the #3 tight end on my big board behind Zach Ertz and Tyler Eifert. The game tape reveals a player that could be the focal point of an entire offense. As a player, he does have his limitations, which is why he isn’t worth being the #1 overall tight end in this class. However, as a receiver, he has the highest ceiling of anyone in the 2013 NFL Draft Tight End class.
Using the great tools over at Rotoviz, I did a comparison of Reed with Aaron Hernandez, Rob Gronkowski, Zach Ertz and Tyler Eifert. Doing so provides useful analysis in several ways. Intially, Reed has been compared to Hernandez Ad Nauseum due to their similar body size, skills and the fact that they attended the same university. Comparing Reed with his contemporaries, Ertz & Eifert, allows for a great understanding of why he is so high in the 2013 draft class. Comparing any tight end to Rob Gronkowski is a measure of their ceiling, which is why he is included in this analysis.
Yards per target paints Reed as relatively average in this analysis, therefore we must move on to Market Share Of Yards.
By this measure, in his third year, Reed becomes *equals* to Hernandez and Gronkowski. Quite eye-opening to his long-term fantasy football potential. The inclusion of Gronkowski in the Market Share of TD’s basically broke the comparison tool because no one scores touchdowns like Rob Gronkowski, but Reed is in the same league as the 3 other players.
In general, the metrics perspective is kind to Reed. His numbers, both standard and advanced, don’t leap off the page, but they don’t damage him in any. However, the film is where Reed really comes alive as a prospect.
I don’t see Aaron Hernandez as the best comp for Jordan Reed. To me, he is a more athletic James Casey or less atheltic and much larger Percy Harvin. His ability in the open field is not paralled by any tight end currently in football. Reed is a real weapon that is constantly put in motion and thrown screen passes that are designed to get him in the open field where he excels. There were a few times in the games that I watched where he raced along the sidelines and missed defenders like a running back. Having a tight end able to function out of the screen game is a huge boon for an offense because it boosts versatility. The reason that the scouting community goes nuts for players like James Casey, Percy Harvin, Darren Sproles, and C.J Spiller is that they force the defense to frequently adjust their schemes. If someone ever teaches Reed how to block, he could theoretically line up at fullback, slot receiver, X/Y receiver and even running back. I don’t imagine many who have watched Reed have come to this conclusion because his blocking is so poor. However, blocking is a skill that can be taught and learned. If Reed never develops as a blocker, he has a future as a slot receiver or an situational X wide out. The key will be finding a way to utilize him in space.
When Reed gets the ball in space and is allowed to dodge defenders, he looks like a future All-Pro. When the ball is thrown to him in a way that doesn’t get him perfectly in stride, he exemplifies the phrase ‘fights the ball’ more than anyone else in this class. He has a hard time adjusting to high balls and even with no defenders within 10 feet of him, secures the ball awkwardly. He won’t have that sort of space in the NFL. Where Reed does do well as a traditional tight end is in the Red Zone. While the numbers aren’t highly favorable, what I saw on film was a player who understands space and scheme, which allows him to get open and find soft spaces in the zone. He will be much taller than most linebackers who have to guard him and much, much stronger than any defensive back who draws him as an assignment and that is a definite recipe for redzone success. As a receiver, literally in the act of catching the ball, Reed has a lot to learn. I don’t think that limits his long term ceiling as a player. Technique is something that athletes like Antonio Gates, Jimmy Graham and other athletic marvels have had to learn.
Fantasy Football Outlook:
There are a few ways that Reed’s career could go. He could end up being another Jermicheal Finley; an athletic world wonder that just never learns the nuances of the professional game and therefore never develops. On the other hand, he could go to a team with an inventive and helpful coaching staff and become a very meaningful fantasy player. If that best case scenario does occur and Reed gains 115 targets in a season, then he will be a top 5 tight end. The tight end position in both dynasty and redraft fantasy football is very fluid. There are the 3 studs of Gronk, Graham, and Aaron Hernandez and then everyone else. Reed’s breathtaking ability in the open field as well as his ability to find the softness in the defense while in the redzone give him a bright future. I would not admonish anyone for spending a first round dynasty rookie draft pick on Reed. Eifert and Ertz are much safer, but Reed has the highest ceiling.