Breakout potential: TE Jordan Reed

Breakout potential: TE Jordan Reed
February 8, 2014, 12:00 pm
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In the coming weeks, Redskins reporter Tarik El-Bashir will examine five candidates to break out in 2014. Today, we’re looking at tight end Jordan Reed. 

2013 stats: 45 receptions, 499 yards, 30 first downs, 3 touchdowns

Contract status: Signed through 2016

2013 in review: Reed began his rookie season nursing some bumps and bruises and ended it on injured reserve with a concussion. In between, though, the Florida product showed flashes of brilliance and the potential to develop into a Pro Bowl caliber player.

In training camp, Reed rehabbed off to the side with Robert Griffin III, who was also working his way back from injury. And the chemistry the two developed during those sessions was obvious once the season began as Reed set franchise records for a rookie tight end (receptions and yards) and was named to the Pro Football Writers All-Rookie team. The third round draft pick ranked second among all rookie tight ends in receptions and yards, as well.

What was truly amazing—and at the same time concerning—is that he did all that in only nine games. Reed missed one game with a thigh bruise, then was sidelined the final six contests with a concussion he suffered against the Eagles on Nov. 17.

Reed attempted to return to the lineup, but when his headaches lingered it was recommended by doctors that he sit out the remainder of the season.

RELATED: [Redskins position outlook: Tight end]

2014 Outlook: Reed possesses good size (6-2, 243 pounds), wide receiver-like athleticism and hands and a strong work ethic. He often stayed on the field long after practice to work on route running and other details.

In other words, Reed has all the tools to become one of the game’s elite tight ends.

But he’ll have to stay healthy in order to reach his potential. The biggest concern, of course, is the concussion, which was the third diagnosed head injury of his career. The first two came with the Gators. A week ago, he told ESPN980’s Chris Russell that he’s feeling “very good” and planned to head to Florida to begin his offseason training. 

Indeed, that's good news for the Redskins. Because if Reed manages to play a full 16 games next season, there’s no reason he can’t crack the top-10 among all tight ends in receptions and yards, which would mean 60-plus catches and 750-plus yards. It also wouldn't be a stretch to see him approach 75 receptions and 900 yards as a sophomore.