The NFL draft begins on April 27th in Philadelphia and the Redskins have the No. 17 selection in the first round. This is the second in a series of stories analyzing 15 players who could be good fits for Washington at that position.
Few players have skyrocketed up the mock draft charts like Reddick, who is used to coming out of nowhere. Recruited as a walk-on defensive back at Temple following two serious knee injuries in high school, Reddick eventually gained strength and became one of the top pass rushers in the country with 10.5 sacks as a senior.
This is a kid who thought his career was over after high school. It was only because his father had a connection with the defensive backs coach at Temple that Reddick was brought in as a preferred walk-on. So it’s no surprise that Reddick burst onto the scene at the Senior Bowl in January where the coaching staff intentionally used him at inside linebacker to see if he could handle it. A boundary defensive end in college, Reddick took to inside linebacker and showed he could play off the ball in practices there. Suddenly a player who was considered a third or fourth-round pick will almost certainly go in the first round and should be available to the Redskins at No. 17.
How he fits: Versatility defines the modern NFL and Reddick showed glimpses that he could play inside linebacker and still line up on the edge and get after the quarterback. He has the athletic ability to chase sideline to sideline and hold up well in coverage. He is also a natural playmaker and diagnoses plays quickly. Reddick finished with 21.5 tackles for loss as a senior at Temple. With Zach Brown on a one-year contract and Mason Foster and restricted free agent Will Compton at that position, too, you can easily argue Washington needs to add to that spot sooner than later.
Questions: Not a ton of experience on the inside, but he’s only 237 pounds and forcing him to add weight to play defensive end or outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme could cost Reddick some of the speed and explosiveness that makes him so versatile. Still raw as a pass rusher, too. He can close well, but shedding blocks will take some serious technique work.
Reddick’s take: “I’m a competitor. Hustle. Then speed. That’s what’s my game. All three of those things go hand-in-hand with me. One helps the other. That’s what helps the competitor that I am.”
What they’re saying:
Daniel Jeremiah, NFL Network: “He’s somebody you could play inside off the ball on run downs … you get a lead, you can set him off the edge, a Vic Beasley-type rusher coming off the end. I wouldn’t sleep on Haason Reddick.”
Mike Mayock, NFL Network: “I’m very much a Haason Reddick guy, and if he tests well at the combine, I think he’s going to come from nowhere to being, at worst, a second-round pick and perhaps a late first-round pick … A guy that can run, highly competitive and tough.”
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