By: Derek Havens
A few weeks ago, I made Arizona defensive end Brooks Reed my sleeper prospect in my College Prospect Breakdown. The college defensive end seems to have many of the qualities to transition to 3 – 4 outside linebacker. Here is what I wrote on him a few weeks ago:
Brooks Reed: 6’3 – 263 (Arizona) –
Brooks Reed is a prospect that could shoot up into the early second round range after the pre- draft process is complete. He is slated as a mid third to late second talent as of now, but that could change in the coming weeks. Described by NFL Analyst Pat Kirwan as “The next Clay Mathews”, Reed will be a well known commodity after the combine. His size, relentless motor, and ability to locate the ball carrier is exceptional. I believe this could be a prospect worth keeping an eye on before April’s draft.
Just like the other hundreds of college prospects, Reed has been working out and visiting with multiple NFL teams. Fortunately, Reed was able to take time out of his schedule to discuss his draft journey.
Will New England take a chance on Reed during this month’s NFL Draft? (FILE:Icon/SMI)
How did you feel about the whole combine experience?
“It was cool, man. A little stressful talking to all the coaches, scouts, and [General Managers]. I had fun on the last day which was all the running and stuff. That was a day I trained for many months for. It was fun to do the workouts with everyone you had seen on TV and know you were all working on the same goal.”
At the Combine, I saw that you were a top performer in the 40 yard dash and the 20 yard short shuttle. Do you feel that your speed and athleticism is your biggest weapon?
“Yea, that’s why I think I am being looked at as a 3 – 4 outside linebacker right now. Just the combination of my size and speed, um, my ability to rush the quarterback and to drop into coverage.”
When you rush the QuarterBack, what do you feel is your biggest weapon? What do you like to do most?
“You know, there is not one specific thing I like to do the most. But, there is a combination of things I like to do. Which is a speed rush uphill and maybe a chop, then counter that will a strong move inside.”
Getting back to how most teams are looking at you as an outside linebacker, how do you think you would transition to a 3 – 4 defense?
“I think it is a pretty natural transition for me. I mean, I am being asked to do the same thing. Rush the Quarterback, play the run, and covering a player in the flat or on a curl is pretty much the only difference but, I did a little bit of that in college. But, they want me standing up and doing it, and I think that is even easier. I think it will work out pretty well for me.”
So you would feel comfortable standing up in a 3 – 4 defense as an outside linebacker?
“Yea. I did a little stand up in the Senior Bowl and I was fine with that. I think it could be a smooth transition, well maybe not completely smooth because there is always a little learning curve, but I think it it will be a good fit for me and help utilize my skills better. Most 3 – 4 outside linebackers were previous defensive ends in college, so I am not in uncharted territory here. Other guys have done it, and I think that I could too.”
Is there any player in the NFL right now that you model your game after?
“I try not to think I play like anyone, ya know, I try to have a complete game; Play the run well, have a good pass rush. But, I like watching tape on guys. Dwight Freeney, DeMarcus Ware, Clay Mathews… even Julius Peppers. I know he is not my body type, but he is a great pass rusher and player so it is always fun to watch film on that guy.”
Would you say the majority of teams that have worked you out are doing so as a 3 – 4 outside linebacker and not a 4 – 3 defensive end?
“Yea, I mean, I am pretty sure i’ll be drafted as a 3 – 4 outside linebacker. I have had contact with pretty much every team running a 3 – 4 defense and a few 4 – 3 teams. But I really don’t know for sure.”
What are you looking forward to most in playing in the NFL?
“(laughs) I guess sacking quarterbacks, the same ones I have been watching on TV for awhile now. Other than that, playing in front of a huge crowd and being apart of the best-of-the-best.”
One of your qualities that stand out is your relentless motor. How would you describe that mentality and how do you continue that throughout the games entirety?
“I couldn’t really tell you were I get it from. I think it is just good habit, ya know, practice. But, I think that is the type of mentality a defensive player needs to play with- a relentless attitude. Defense is all about attitude and that is what keeps me going through the forth quarter.”
I also thought it was interesting that Reed wouldn’t confirm he visited / worked out for the Patriots (no surprise there). But, when we talked he was in an airport in Atlanta coming home from a workout in Buffalo. There were multiple reports saying that Reed was with New England before going to Buffalo and he confirmed his workout with Buffalo.
Analysis: Brooks Reed seems to be rocketing up draft boards and is certainly an option for the Patriots. Initially, Reed was seen as a second to third round selection. Now, he could go in the first round or early in the second. I feel he has a lot of qualities and abilities that make him a logical pick for the Patriots. Between talking to him, watching film, and reading scouting reports, I believe he could make the transition to 3 – 4 outside linebacker. Reed is certainly a player to keep your eye on during the draft as a potential Patriots target.
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