With a lineup that already boasts a potential star in Fred Davis, the Redskins didn’t enter the 2013 draft looking for a playmaking tight end.
But they also didn’t expect Jordan Reed to still be on the board late in the third round. When he was, picking the Florida Gator was a no-brainer.
Reed, who is 6 foot 3, 243 pounds and runs a 4.7-second 40, can line up on the line. He can line up as an H-back or in the slot. He can also split out wide. Interestingly, the New London, Conn. native was recruited as a quarterback and even threw three touchdown passes as a freshman at Florida before being converted into a tight end in 2011.
Because of Reed’s athleticism and versatility, Robert Griffin III’s arm and Kyle Shanahan’s ingenuity it's not difficult to imagine Reed being involved in some highlight reel moments as a rookie next season.
But questions about his health emerged at rookie camp over the weekend. Reed watched from the sideline because of a pulled quad muscle that was causing some knee soreness, according to Coach Mike Shanahan. Reed said he got hurt in Florida’s final game of last season.
Due to the injury, it’s unclear whether Reed will be on the field when OTAs begin two weeks from now. But from what Shanahan said on Sunday, that’s the hope.
“We’re going to put him through a little bit of rehab and hopefully he’ll be able to go in a couple of weeks,” Shanahan said. “It’s a little bit sore right now. He hasn’t done anything in about two and a half weeks.”
When healthy, though, there are no doubts about Reed’s potential as a pass-catcher. In his final two seasons at Florida, he hauled in 73 balls for 866 yards and five touchdowns.
Asked about Reed, Redskins lineman Xavier Nixon vouched for his former Florida teammate's explosiveness, saying: "Jordan Reed is an amazing athlete, man. You put the ball in his hands and he’s going to make things happen. So keep your eyes peeled for that guy."
Talent evaluators were similarly impressed. From NFLDraftScout.com’s Rob Rang:
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.
Reed shows smooth athleticism in his routes, creating separation with sharp footwork and quick body movements. 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.
From NFL.com, which, like Shanahan, compares Reed to the Patriots’ Aaron Hernandez:
Reed ended the season on a low note after being benched in the Sugar Bowl for a poor attitude, but that should not cloud Reed's breakout season. The junior was forced to play inline at times, but he projects as a move or Joker tight end in the NFL due to his smoothness in space and natural catch and run abilities. Aaron Hernandez is a special player in the NFL, but the similarities between the two far exceed the college both attended.
Here is a collection of highlights from Reed's junior season at Florida. Pay close attention to the athleticism and field awareness he displays at :18.
This video focuses on Reed’s five-reception performances against Texas A&M last season.
As long as Reed’s injury does not hamper his preparation this offseason, there's no reason to believe he won't become another dangerous weapon in a Redskins’ arsenal that’s already well stocked - and fast.