Jarran Reed Makes Sense for Packers in 2016 NFL Draft

There is not much debate that defensive line and in particular, nose tackle is an area of need for the Green Bay Packers entering the 2016 NFL Draft.

With the sudden retirement of B.J. Raji, and the four-game suspension for the promising Mike Pennel, finding a nose tackle early in the draft wouldn’t be such a bad thing. That is sometimes easier said than done, but looking at this year’s defensive line group, should leave the Packers optimistic that they can find one early in the draft.

One player that makes a lot of sense for Green Bay and is more likely to be on the board when the Packers select at No. 27 is Alabama defensive lineman Jarran Reed.

Reed is a 6-2, 308-pound prospect that spent the last few seasons playing defensive line for Nick Saban and most of the time that is a pretty good tutelage.

There are some question marks about Reed, especially his ability to rush the passer. In his last two seasons, he posted just two sacks, which isn’t the kind of production normally expected from first-round defensive lineman.

Yet, I don’t necessarily view that as a disclaimer. I mean look at what Raji’s role was last season. He was a run stopper and he did very well at it. That’s also what Ryan Pickett did when he was Green Bay’s starting nose tackle and he also did a commendable job. But, the thing about both of those players is they each played around just 30-40 percent of the snaps.

They weren’t every-down players for the Packers and the truth is that Reed won’t have to be either.

The Packers, at least under Dom Capers, are a team that relies heavily on sub packages. And while Reed or another bigger defensive tackle will certainly need to play in some of those packages, his biggest responsibility will be holding up against the run on early downs, which a scout recently said in a USA Today article: “Reed can play the run right now at a Pro Bowl level. Today. Now.”

That’s exactly what they Packers need. At least for this season. And Reed could be that guy. He’s a dominant force inside and in his defense, he wasn’t given many pass-rushing opportunities in Alabama.

Green Bay has some solid interior rushers, in fact, Mike Daniels is one of the best in the business. And I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Packers add another defensive lineman later than can push the pocket a bit.

The point is though, that the Packers definitely need a long-term answer at nose tackle and if some other targets at inside linebacker or outside linebacker are gone, then Reed could represent the perfect marriage between need and value for Green Bay at the end of the first round.

 

chris peterson

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2 Comments
DannyDS

Have to say I disagree w/ the premise that NT is the need on the DL. Personally, I think Guion and Pennel are both better at NT than any other position. What I see as missing is a true 5 tech DE that can play every down. One that can hold his gaps in base D and also slide inside to DT in sub packages to rush the QB along w/ either Daniels or Datone Jones (who will get pass rush snaps at DT). Using a 1st rd pick on a guy that is nothing but a run stuffer and who’ll only be on the field at most 25-30% of total defensive snaps, just doesn’t make alot of sense to me. Robinson would be a great pick but he’ll likely be long gone. As mentioned Reed is a run stuffer only and offers no pass rush. Instead of Reed, how about Butler? He is big enough to help at NT if needed, but he has the length and ability of a true 5 tech DE. He’s been compared by NFL to Muhammad Wilkerson. Looong 35 in arms needed to excel at 5 tech. He’s considered a late 1st/early 2nd rd pick, much like Reed. The other option at 5 tech at the end of the 2nd is Chris Jones. Another true 5 tech, who was needed to play NT at Miss St.

I would look at Robinson, Butler and Jones before I would take Reed.

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chris peterson

I get your points. But I do think you are underestimating how important a run stuffer is. Think Vince Wilfork for the Pats. Plus Reed didn’t get many chances to rush at Bama, maybe he will be better in that area once he’s given a chance to play. Guion is not a 3-4 NT to me. Pennel has a shot but he’s suspended four games and I don’t know if he’s ba starter. I think Guion is good and can play both, but not a true nose to me like Pickett or Raji and those guys are hard to find. You can just get by with someone at that spot. Reed isn’t a perfect prospect, but I think he is a fit and would play well right away.

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