With the NFL regular season less than two weeks away, it’s time to check in on this year’s crop of Arizona Wildcats draft picks.
OLB Brooks Reed #58
Drafted: Second round, 10th pick (42nd overall)
Brooks Reed isn’t just a good fit, he’s a great fit.
The Tucson native’s attempt to convert from 4-3 defensive end to a 3-4 outside linebacker was considered by some to be too much of a risk at the next level to waste an early draft pick on the Sabino High School alum.
Houston saw the value in Reed’s size, speed and physical play, selecting him in the second-round. A pick usually reserved for major contributors of the near future.
It took all of one preseason game for Reed to begin making an impact on the field, doing what he does best, racking up tackles for losses and terrorizing the opposing quarterback.
By game two, the Texans newest second-string outside linebacker was filling up the box score just like old times.
Two sacks, two forced fumbles, a handful of tackles and a whole lot of hair.
Head coach Gary Kubiak spoke very highly of Reed last week in an article with the Associated Press.
“No doubt, probably the one player right now showing the most vast improvement from day-to-day, practice-to-practice and game-to-game.”
Houston has yet to play a preseason game this year with all four starting linebackers healthy and on the field at one time. Standout backers Brian Cushing (knee) and DeMeco Ryans (elbow) have been slowed but should be ready for the regular season.
Either way Reed should be one of the main benefactors of addition playtime early in the season until both players are 100 percent. He’s earned it.
The only down side as a position-changing rookie is Reed isn’t an every down player…yet.
It tough to keep him off the field but Huston’s depth along the front seven is making it even harder for him to get in.
The Texans are also trying to convert former first overall pick of the 2006 draft and physical freak Mario Williams to the other outside linebacker spot, meaning less minutes to go around.
As of now, Reed is stuck behind third-year man Connor Barwin who’s entering his first season as a starter and also trying to transition from end to outside linebacker.
Barwin missed 15 games last year after suffering a season ending injury in week one.
If either project fails, they can just move back to end and Reed can step in. A good problem to have if you’re Houston.
Want more? Be sure to check out good fit / bad fit articles on Ricky Elmore and D’Aundre Reed.