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Joe Reed should be a late round steal in the NFL Draft

Virginia’s star WR and return man will bring great athleticism to whichever team that drafts him

NCAA Football: Virginia at Louisville Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

This weekend’s NFL draft will give us a glimmer of live sports content when it’s streamed over ABC, ESPN, and the NFL network from Thursday-Saturday. As NFL staffs work together to pick players via Zoom or Skype or an RV in a driveway, Virginia fans can tune in to see where our favorite departing Hoos will begin their pro careers.

One such Wahoo, Joe Reed, will probably have to wait until Saturday to hear his name called in this weekend’s NFL draft, as most predictions don’t have him being selected until this 6th or 7th round (if at all). However, whichever team picks up the former UVA star will be landing a player with some measurables that should have placed him in an earlier round, plus the added benefit of being a prolific kick returner.

Reed set Virginia career records during his time in Charlottesville for Kick Return attempts (106), return yardage (3042), and season/career kick return touchdown totals (2 and 5). He should immediately contribute in the NFL on special teams in that fashion, but should also get a strong look at playing time as a wide receiver. Reed led the Hoos in receptions in his final year with the team and his physical stats back up the work he produced in his college career:

He was one of three Cavaliers invited to the NFL Combine and was the only one that participated in any drills as teammates Bryce Hall and Jordan Mack were both recovering from injuries. Reed finished third among the 33 receivers that did the bench press, hammering out 21 reps.

Reed also ran a 4.47 40-yard dash, hit 38 inches on his vertical jump, and jumped 123 inches on the broad jump.

The versatility he would bring to an NFL roster should lead to him being picked up in a late round, and though his speed is not elite, he does show some solid wheels and a knack for quickly getting North/South on plays (which certainly translates well from the kickoff returner skill set. While this year’s NFL draft is absolutely loaded with depth at the wide receiver position, I think it’s fair to say some team will want to take advantage of the explosive potential Reed shows in his highlights:

Lance Zierlein, an analyst for the NFL, projects Reed as a 7th round pick and notes the following for his potential to make a roster spot:

His hands are reliable and he’s quick in transitioning from catch to run in the quick passing game. He’s a fearless, downhill kick returner with a running back’s vision and can flip the field for his team, but he needs to prove he’s worthy of a receiver spot on the roster to make a team

The major questions concerning Reed’s ability to succeed in the NFL are his lack top of acceleration and his ability to create separation against professional defensive backs. If he can improve in those aspects, his overall speed, strong hands, and potential on special teams will help him land a roster spot (if and when NFL teams are able to have camp again).


Sports Illustrated - No. 219, Minnesota Vikings

CBS Sports - No. 206, Jacksonville Jaguars

USA Today - No. 198, Pittsburgh Steelers

How to Watch

Here is the full schedule with times and networks, per the NFL:

  • Thursday, April 23 (8-11:30 p.m. ET): Round 1 — ABC, ESPN, NFL Network, ESPN Deportes, ESPN Radio
  • Friday, April 24 (7-11:30 p.m.): Rounds 2 and 3 — ABC, ESPN, NFL Network, ESPN Deportes, ESPN Radio
  • Sat, April 25 (12-7 p.m.): Rounds 4 through 7 — ABC, ESPN, NFL Network, ESPN Deportes, ESPN Radio

Keep up with us at Streaking the Lawn as we continue to look at the NFL Draft and the players that might get selected throughout the weekend.