I think it’s pretty likely that Seattle will draft offensive line and defensive line with their first two selections. However, I think there are certain events that might usurp those needs. The best bet of the bunch to upset this procession is tight end. The 2013 draft boasts one of the better and deeper tight end groups in recent memory, and that means that it’s likely to be a position of great value in the first four rounds.
There is a good deal of controversy over the order in which those tight ends might be drafted too- meaning that some of the bigger names actually stand a chance of staying on the board longer than they should. Who draws the shortest straw is anyone’s guess. I’m guessing that Reed is solidly in the round two or three range, but he could be worth talking about just the same in case something unexpected happens- whether that’s him lasting until the end of round four or Seattle surprising us by calling his name at #56.
I think Seattle is pretty open about their options at tight end. We are currently without a proven joker tight end, but it’s not like you need one and given Seattle’s extremely run heavy approach and quantity of two tight end sets, it’s not a crazy notion to have all three tight ends being of the well rounded variety. Seattle might not be focused on acquiring a joker type, but if they are, Reed is one of the best in the 2013 draft at moving around formations from the tight end position.
That said, a joker-type is all he’s likely to be in the NFL. At the combine he measured just 6’2½” and 236 pounds, making him both the shortest and lightest tight end at the combine out of 19 participants.
Reed posted a mildly disappointing 4.72 forty time at the combine, but on the field his speed appeared identical to teammate receivers, making that 4.72 number seem dubious. Reed shows good ability at getting separation. On a few occasions he even displayed quick feet and change of direction ability after the catch.
His hand measurement came in at 10″, which is on the better half of the spectrum. In three games he didn’t register a drop, though he did lose one ball from a collision with the ground and also had an ugly fumble in the end zone. Reed has a good catch radius, makes tough catches, and was nothing if not a reliable target.
You pair that reliability with his ability to separate, and it’s a wonder that Reed only finished with 45 receptions for 559 yards last season. Reed was part of a team that completed a stunningly low 58 total passes to it’s entire receiver corps heading into their bowl game. Yet despite unusual ball distribution by Florida’s offense, it never felt like Reed was the focal point in any of the games I broke down. Glancing at his game log I found further evidence of this: Reed has never posted a 100 yard game nor has he ever caught more than 5 passes in a game. Only twice (in his career) has he gone over 70 yards.
You take all of these factors together and it’s easy to assume that Reed was a victim of his passing offense; that he was under-utilized. Maybe there is truth to that. But what I can say with more certainty is that Reed was never a “star” at Florida. He has the talent to be a receiver at tight end, but at Florida he was merely a talented accessory. That might scare off teams looking for a #1 tight end, but Seattle is exactly the kind of place that would welcome Reed’s combination of talent and under-utilization. Our team is loaded with talent at receiver and tight end- talent that is overlooked because the individuals within it don’t post 1000 yard seasons. Not because they aren’t capable, but because our system spreads the football for the greater good of the offense.
The question then becomes whether Seattle wants a short, light joker hybrid that won’t likely flatten defenders as a blocker. Reed’s effort isn’t always there as a blocker and he frequently hesitates like he doesn’t want to hurt himself when blocking. He can get push on a moving target and is surprisingly decent in pass protection, but at his size you would be thrilled to get mediocre NFL blocking from him.
If Seattle just wants to add more receiving options for Russell Wilson and is okay with acquiring more of a specialist than a starter, then Reed could be a very nice addition for our team. He is the most natural joker type in this draft, he runs excellent routes, separates, improvises well, and has excellent hands. Seattle could certainly do far worse, especially if the board is fighting them at offensive and defensive line.