New Orleans Saints draft profiles: Clash of the Titans, Part 1

brianpavek
Dec 5, 2015; Waco, TX, USA; Baylor Bears defensive tackle Andrew Billings (75) rushes against the Texas Longhorns during the first quarter at McLane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 5, 2015; Waco, TX, USA; Baylor Bears defensive tackle Andrew Billings (75) rushes against the Texas Longhorns during the first quarter at McLane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /
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Jarran Reed
cNov 8, 2014; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; LSU Tigers running back Leonard Fournette (7) is grabbed by Alabama Crimson Tide defensive lineman Jarran Reed (90) during the first quarter of a game at Tiger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports /

Jarran Reed: DT, Alabama

Height: 6-foot-3
Weight: 307 LBS

Reed was part of one of the most dominating defensive fronts not only in college football, but recent memory as well. Reed is a monster of a man with good balance, great strength, and a real natural feel for the game. It’s my opinion that Jarran Reed has the highest floor of any of the four defensive tackles being considered. I think he’s the most NFL-ready and will need the least development to be a starter. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that Reed is capable of coming in day one as a dominant run defender. Able to use a combination of power, technique, and his great motor, Reed might just be the best two-down defensive tackle in this draft.

That is where the issues start to come up though. Reed is legitimately a very stout run defender and his solid technique and instincts make him a player you have to gameplan around in the run game, however, his pass rush leaves A LOT to be desired. Reed isn’t a technician from a pass rush perspective by any means, and his lack of a truly explosive first step makes him much more of a wall than a bulldozer.

What is important to remember with a player like Reed is the fact that he is still developing. He wasn’t a very good pass rusher in college, but that doesn’t guarantee that he can’t get some decent pressure in the pros. Reed has very good strength and through sheer tenacity, it wouldn’t surprise me to see him become a solid all-around defensive tackle. The question being asked here isn’t just can he become a decent NFL player though, it’s can he become a difference maker for the Saints defense?

In the case of Reed, what makes him so appealing is also what may drive his value down for the 12th overall pick. Reed is the most stable, NFL ready, and safest pick among the defensive tackles in this class in my opinion. However, I think he might also have one of the lower ceilings as well. The issue I have with Reed (and with Robinson as well to be honest) is we haven’t seen him play without the presence of another dominating defensive tackle next to him. I’m not sure that the traits displayed by Reed scream dominance to me, and I don’t think they ever will. In the 2nd or 3rd round he would be a homerun pick, but there is a legitimate question on whether or not he can have enough individual impact to warrant the 12th pick in this draft.

The New Orleans Saints DO need a solid contributor who can be consistent on the interior, but they also need someone who can draw attention and make teams worry about them some. I’m positive Reed can be good, but I’m much less sure he will ever be great. The reality is that football is very much a game of cause and effect, and a single player’s performance and potential can affect the entire unit around them.

The Saints need a player who can not only contribute, but can enhance the play of the other players around them by shifting the focus of the offense. The bottom line is that Reed isn’t that player in my book (as always I’m open to being proven wrong here), but can the Saints afford to gamble on someone else who’s less of a sure thing just because their potential is higher? We’ll find out in part two of ‘Clash of the Titans.’

Next up for part one is Andrew Billings…

Next: Andrew Billings

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