Virginia wide receiver and kick return man Joe Reed heard his named called on Saturday afternoon in the NFL Draft, going No. 151 overall to the Los Angeles Chargers. This was potentially a little earlier than most expected to hear Reed’s name — especially considering teammate Bryce Hall was still on the board — but LA saw the potential oozing from the 6’0, 224 pound versatile player.
Reed did a little bit of it all at Virginia: hauling down passes from Bryce Perkins (who is now on a UDFA contract with the LA Rams), running out of the backfield, and serving as the Cavaliers’ kick return specialist. He expects to be used in a similar manner by the Chargers.
“The conversation that I’ve had with the coaches so far has been a combination of receiver, playing some out of the backfield, and returning both punts and kick offs,” Reed told media of his expected role in LA.
The Charlotte Court House, VA native is excited to get out west, especially since it will be his first time to Los Angeles.
He’s going to join a receiving room that features the likes of Keenan Allen and Mike Williams. “Sounds like a deadly combination,” Reed said when a reporter asked him to reflect on the potential to play alongside Allen and Williams. “I’m ready to get there and learn from those two guys. I was actually watching some tape on Keenan [Allen] about a week ago, just seeing what type of player he is. Definitely excited to be sharing the same room with them, and learning from them going forward.”
Reed won’t be the only Wahoo in the room, however. Former Virginia wide receiver and punt returner, Darius Jennings, was picked up by Los Angeles in the off-season. Although the duo didn’t overlap in Charlottesville, Reed and Jennings were introduced by position coach Marques Hagans during Reed’s recruiting trip.
Both Reed and Jennings were receivers and returners with the Hoos, and the latter has become a bit of a mentor to the former. After being drafted, Reed said he’d be texting Jennings to get a head start on learning the playbook and schemes.
Joe Reed (@JoeBee_2) talks about getting to play for the @Chargers with former Cavalier @DariusJennings_, the man who’s Cavalier KR record he broke.— Virginia Football (@UVAFootball) April 26, 2020
We ALSO a @BryceHall11 cameo #GoHoos pic.twitter.com/BTrd9Ai1bN
“Going into the draft, I was hoping the Chargers would draft a player with Reed’s skill-set,” Michael Peterson of SB Nation and Bolts From the Blue told Streaking the Lawn. “He played wide receiver, but he’s built and plays like a running back. The added bonus of him being one of the best kick returners in the nation last year is also huge.”
There’s also a chance he could become the Chargers’ deep threat. Although Virginia didn’t consistently take shots downfield, Reed was clutch when they did, saying, “In my four years [at Virginia], I didn’t drop any deep passes.”
You’ll consistently hear analysts and media mention Reed’s size, but it goes hand-in-hand with his quickness and strength. He ran a 4.47 (unofficial) 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, but was third among all wide receivers with 21 reps on the bench press.
“One thing I like to comment on my size with is my speed, and I feel like the combination of both those things helps me become an overall better football player,” Reed said. “Being a bigger guy with the ball in my hands, being able to run fast, obviously that helps me a lot when I’m returning kickoffs”
The options are almost limitless for Reed in LA, and he’ll certainly have a chance to be on the field a lot for the Chargers. “Following his selection, Reed told media members that he will be utilized in a variety of ways on offense, including in the backfield, in the slot, and out wide,” Peterson stated. “By the sound of it, he will be used almost interchangeably with current running back Austin Ekeler.”
the guy can do it all— Los Angeles Chargers (@Chargers) April 25, 2020
ABC | ESPN | NFLN pic.twitter.com/kFCZ3GR6XD
We’re not sure when football will return, but when it does, Reed will be ready to make moves for the Chargers. We just can’t wait to see him in the powder blue.