ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 31: DeAndre Hopkins #6 of the Clemson Tigers pulls in a touchdown reception against Eric Reid #1 of the LSU Tigers during the 2012 Chick-fil-A Bowl at Georgia Dome on December 31, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
LSU safety Eric Reid was highly-recruited coming out of high school, getting playing time immediately as a freshman in college. He made a big impact in all three of his seasons at LSU, recording 199 tackles and six interceptions.
Reid is a tall (6-2, 212 pounds) safety who many believe to have good versatility. He was asked to play in both the deep middle and in the box at LSU. Reid seems most comfortable near the line-of-scrimmage where he isn’t asked to turn and run long distances with receivers. He can struggle as a deep free safety, in my opinion, sitting off way too far in coverage and allowing receivers to easily catch passes underneath him.
In the box, Reid has some short-area quickness that he uses to play underneath zones well. He doesn’t necessarily have the skill set to play man-to-man coverage against slot receivers, but since Reid is taller and has longer arms than most safeties, he has a better chance to potentially combat the effectiveness of tight ends who generally won’t beat him with speed.
Reid’s bread-and-butter is said to be his run defense, but I’m not sure I see what others are watching. I watched six of Reid’s games from 2012 and he sometimes takes poor angles and doesn’t wrap up. He made a lot of tackles at LSU, but I think that’s more because the nature of his position left him unblocked by the offense. I don’t see him flying up to make big plays in the running game as I’ve seen from safeties like Florida International’s Jonathan Cyprien or, specifically, Florida’s Matt Elam.
I think Reid’s 40 time will be really important because he might not have the long speed to consistently play deep coverage in the NFL. He’s already poor when lined up off of the line, and a lack of speed would indicate he probably won’t improve much. That doesn’t mean he can’t be effective if placed in the right defense, but he’s not Ed Reed.
NFL Comparison: Dawan Landry
Similar to Jacksonville’s Dawan Landry in size and skill set, Reid struggles playing deep and has other weaknesses in coverage that will need to be covered up with certain schemes.
I see Reid falling because many teams have altered the way they view “prototypical” members of the secondary. Whereas big, hard-hitting safeties were in vogue as recently as a decade ago, nowadays many teams seek tall, long cornerbacks and smaller safeties with lots of range. That isn’t Reid. Competing with a number of second-tier safeties, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Reid fall into the third round.
Fit In Dallas
I feel confident that the Cowboys will have a handful of safeties rated higher than Reid on their board. Reid would be better playing the deep half than alone in centerfield, but he’s really more of an in-the-box player who isn’t going to wow anyone in coverage.
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Jonathan Bales is the founder of The DC Times. He writes for DallasCowboys.com and the New York Times. He's also the author of Fantasy Football for Smart People: How to Dominate Your Draft.