Rookie Review: Can Redskins TE Jordan Reed stay healthy?

Rookie Review: Can Redskins TE Jordan Reed stay healthy?
March 1, 2014, 2:30 pm
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In the coming weeks, Redskins Insider Tarik El-Bashir will take a look at the seven members of Washington’s 2013 draft class, grade their rookie season and examine their future prospects.

Today, we’re evaluating tight end Jordan Reed.

Drafted: 3rd round (85th overall)

Stats: 9 games, 45 receptions, 30 first downs, 499 yards, 3 touchdowns

Grade: B+

2013: In the midst of a difficult season, Reed was among the few bright spots for the Redskins.

Despite missing the offseason program with a lingering leg injury and part of training camp with a foot ailment, Reed got off to a strong start. He showed his athleticism, sure hands and wide catch radius, snagging 26 of the first 30 balls thrown in his direction, including a 9-for-9 effort against the Bears.

What Reed did out of the public eye was equally as impressive. He was routinely among the last players to leave the practice field, opting to stay behind to work with an assistant coach to improve his route running, footwork and conditioning.

Overall, Reed finished the season ranked second among all rookie tight ends in receptions and yards, despite appearing in only nine games. (Tampa Bay’s Tim Wright had 54 catches and 571 yards but he appeared in seven more contests.) Reed’s ability to find space, adjust to slightly off-target balls and make difficult catches made him a trusted option for Robert Griffin III, particularly when the quarterback was in trouble. Reed also became a better blocker as the season progressed.

Indeed, the only thing that could damage Reed’s chances of becoming a Pro Bowl caliber player is his propensity to get hurt. The Florida product missed seven games (and parts of a couple of others) as a rookie, including the final six with a concussion.

Prospects: At 6-2, 243-pounds, Reed has the physical tools to be a star. He’s got the work ethic, too. His durability, though, indicates that he’ll get as a far as his body will allow.

Most concerning are the multiple concussions. He says he’s had three of them diagnosed in his career, with the first two coming at Florida.

Recent reports are that Reed is “fully” recovered from his latest concussion and has begun ramping up his offseason training. That’s a really good sign for Reed and the Redskins. But the question no one can answer is what will happen the next time he’s on the receiving end of a hard helmet-to-helmet hit.

If he were to stay healthy for a full 16 games stays healthy, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Reed haul in 70-plus passes and 800-1,000 yards or more as sophomore. But until he proves otherwise, that’s a pretty big ‘if.’