There are hundreds of stories being told during the planning and anticipation of the 2017 NFL Draft. Today we will be looking at a scouting report for senior converted linebacker Haason Reddick Temple Owls.
ILB-Haason Reddick, Temple 6’2” 237 lbs.
This defender might have been more of an afterthought if not for the opportunity to participate in the Senior Bowl event in Mobile, Alabama. During Senior Bowl practice he got coached up and seemed to have found his more natural position as an inside linebacker. After beginning his college career at Temple as a defensive back he then converted to an outside rushing linebacker/defensive to end his college career. As I’m a high school football coach and educator by trade, let’s break down what I saw in the five games I reviewed of the senior defender: 2016 contests versus Wake Forest, Memphis, and Cincinnati, the 2017 Senior Bowl, along with a 2015 games against Notre Dame. Most of these videos are available via draftbreakdown.com. These are my thoughts:
Cons: Due to the recent position change the senior defender has only a few snaps at his more natural position of inside backer under his belt. Reddick spent the majority of his time playing as an outside linebacker or a defensive end on a 4-3 front. Sure, the former Owl was not stout enough to anchor the line at 237 lbs and had problems keeping blockers off his body, but the transition to inside backer will take time. He has also struggled with lower body injuries that have caused him to miss sixteen games in his last two seasons at Temple. When Reddick did play, he saw around 70% of the defensive snaps. Playing inside, he will need to play over 90% so his conditioning must improve. The backer must also take better angles to bring down the ball carrier instead of running around blockers.
Pros: The former Owl is very athletic, showing explosion to get to the pigskin in the open field. His loose hips help him change directions quickly (uses yoga to help him with flexibility) and good field vision which helps his play recognition to track down the trajectory of the ball carrier. Reddick’s motor keeps him flowing up and down the field until the whistle sounds and is a solid wrap-up tackler. Because he is now a former pass rusher, defensive coordinators can use him to rush from both the inside and outside with his spins, swims, and bendable body on both run and pass blitzing situations. The backer is a natural in pass coverage, staying step for step with tight ends and running backs in space. He jumps routes or knocks passes down using his fluid hips.
Overall impressions: Reddick made the most of his Senior Bowl experience showing off his athleticism and ability to convert to an inside linebacker role. The 2017 class is not flush with that many talented possible starting ILBs so he should get an opportunity to see a lot of playing time this season and should contribute from day one. That vaults him into my top five rookie inside linebackers.
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