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The 2016 NFL Draft was the epitome of good defensive line prospects. The Los Angeles Chargers took Joey Bosa third overall. The San Francisco 49ers took DeForest Buckner seventh overall. The Seattle Seahawks took Jarran Reed 49th overall.
At Alabama, Reed was an elite run defender. He had strength, a solid frame, and knew how to create leverage at the point of attack. His big issue, and the reason why he fell to the second round, was that scouts were concerned he would never develop as a pass rusher.
In his rookie season with the Seahawks, they mainly lined him up as their one-technique nose tackle in their base 4-3 Under defense. Reed was your traditional two-gapping lineman where his main responsibility was to draw a double team between the A-gaps.
As a pass rusher, his role in the defense was even more limited. He was taken out on and for the vast majority of these plays he was simply asked to occupy blockers to open up one-on-one opportunities for the other defensive lineman. For these plays, he slanted towards the bubble between himself and the defensive to force the center and the guard to block him. If I had to guess, this occurred on roughly 70 to 80 percent of the passing plays he was on the field.
In the few times when he was actually allowed to pass rush, he was largely ineffective. He needs to learn to use his hands disengage from blockers while also learning counter moves to get past the blocker. The push-pull bull jerk should be his priority to pair with his bull rush.
Overall, his role in Seattle’s defense is pretty limited. Reed will have to drastically improve his pass rush in order to be used on third downs. As of right now, I think he’ll stay as a first and second down nose tackle unless this happens.
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