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2014 NFL Draft Video Breakdown: Is Ed Reynolds a next-level playmaker at safety?

The dynamic free safety made a lot of plays over two years, but is he NFL material?


- Not afraid to come down and lay the wood in the run game. He consistently shoots upfield to get involved stopping the run. In a place like the NFL, that translates very well for a safety: you need guys who can blow up zone run plays and guys who aren't afraid to do the same on special teams.

- Excellent recognition on a scramble drill pass play. Closes the gap between himself and the receiver perfectly. These are the kind of big plays he made over and over again two years ago.

- Reads an option play perfectly. Has good awareness of where the ball is going in the run game.

- Keeps the play in front of him almost all the time. Good angles to the football and swarming instincts. Fast and big enough to stay with tight ends up the seam.


- Stiff in coverage. His change of direction is only so-so, and not entirely fluid. Lets a receiver almost break past him for a TD on a post route.

- Overruns another post route later in the game. Able to recover to make the tackle, but didn't see the WR break inside. That may have been coaching, though - it happened several times in the game to both safeties.

- Makes a big mistake trying to force a fumble instead of just making a tackle in the open field. Reynolds makes contact with the receiver at the 45 and he gets to the 15 before he's brought down. That won't fly in the NFL, where Calvin Johnson and AJ Green make that stuff look routine.

- Seems to play a little too cerebral when not able to roam free. Most of his interceptions two years ago came from a call where he doesn't have any responsibility other than to find the ball - can he make those same big plays when he's matched up in coverage?


This Michigan State game was not the best game of Reynolds' career, but I don't think it's a reach to say he doesn't look quite polished enough to be an NFL starter from day 1. However, he's got room to grow as a player and he's physically big enough to handle the rigors of the NFL, particularly as a special teamer. Right now he's closer to Delano Howell than Ed Reed, but in the right defensive system where's he's eventually able to roam free in coverage while playing special teams in the interim, he'll provide instant value to a team. I wouldn't be surprised to see him end up with the Chargers.