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Seahawks 2017 draft targets: Haason Reddick, LB, Temple

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NCAA Football: Senior Bowl-North Practice Glenn Andrews-USA TODAY Sports

This week on 3000 NFL Mock Draft, Rob Staton spoke at length about how the best player at the Senior Bowl this week is linebacker Haason Reddick. I don’t have much to add, because why would I when Rob is my resident draft expert, but I did want to have a place to specifically discuss Reddick on Field Gulls.

Skip to just before minute 38 to hear Rob talk about Reddick, though he also mentions him earlier in the show at 2:15:

Rob also wrote about Reddick’s performance at the Senior Bowl practices on SeahawksDraftBlog.com:

Play recognition, quickness to close on the ball-carrier, cover skills, the ability to play the edge and rush the passer. He’s highly impressive.

He has similar size to Ryan Shazier with the athleticism to match. Shazier was the #15 pick in 2014. That’s starting to feel possible for Reddick.

At the end of the 11v11 drills he was interviewed by the NFL Network. He spoke really well. Teams are going to love his physical profile, incredible production, character and versatility and stamp him firmly in the first round.

It’s safe to say, the Seahawks will be lucky to get him.

Mike Mayock also praised Reddick as the winner of Senior Bowl week.

He had a really impressive week. He was a hand-in-the-dirt 4-3 defensive end with a lot of sack production at Temple, but down here they asked him to stand up and play two different positions, and every day he got better. And his attitude about the switch was terrific; I got a kick out of how he embraced it. The last two days of practice, I don't think he lost a rep. He bounced around and made plays all week. At 6-foot-1 and 237 pounds, most see him as a tweener, but I think he showed versatility. I came into the week wondering what he would be at the next level, and at the end of the practice sessions I left thinking he could be an inside linebacker in a 3-4, an inside linebacker in a 4-3, and an occasional edge rusher. Bottom line: He showed he can do a bunch of things and do them well. He might not have to come off the field.

But one thing that I don’t think has been mentioned enough is Reddick’s production. Reddick was plenty good during his first three seasons, but as a senior he exploded on the field in a way that I certainly never heard talked about much: 65 tackles, 22.5 tackles for a loss, nine sacks, three forced fumbles, and an interception.

His 22.5 tackles for a loss ranked third in the nation behind Tegray Scales at Indiana (the junior had 24) and Ejuan Price at Pitt (23.) His nine sacks puts him outside the top 20 nationally, but consider that first round prospects like Tak McKinley and Taco Charlton each had 10 sacks, while top-3 prospect Jonathan Allen at Alabama had 10.5 with 16 tackles for a loss. Charlton had just 13.5 TFL. The closest that any top-end pass rusher prospect can come to him in TFL is Derek Barnett at Tennessee, who had 19, with 13 sacks.

With that, Reddick clearly has the full production profile you hope for in a top-20 draft prospect. That’s why it seems unlikely at this point that the Seattle Seahawks can draft him, since they sit at 26, but if he does fall or if they do trade up, does he naturally fit into the 4-3 Under defense, especially given the Seahawks current needs?

Make no mistake that he is too small to fit into the Chris Clemons or Bruce Irvin mold, by roughly two inches and 30 pounds. He is smaller than Mike Morgan and Cassius Marsh also. He is almost the same size as Kevin Pierre-Louis. That’s why he’s stuck with the “tweener” tag because teams will be unsure of whether he works best in a 4-3, 3-4, on the line, or standing up. Most likely, he plays inside linebacker or outside in a 3-4, and I say that based on the experience of: I keep reading it.

If he falls to 26, Seattle may not worry about where he fits or “in what scheme he’d do best.” Great players are great, period. I am a firm believer in the fact that teams shouldn’t draft players who don’t fit in their system, but I also believe that great players transcend systems. Reddick seems to be in a position where his attitude, character, athletic profile, football smarts, and production will make him successful no matter where he goes. More than even Senior Bowl week, I love finding out that he was one of the most productive defensive players in the nation. Put him on the Seahawks defense anywhere and it seems like you’re just adding a really good, young player.

“Tweener” may be the only thing that gets him outside the top 20 in the draft, but a strong combine means he will solidify his place in the top 15.