Could be limited to a two-down defender in the NFL
Summary: There were other defenders who made more splash plays, but Reed did a lot of the dirty work at the point of attack to help Alabama win the National Championship in 2015. Offenses had little success trying to run on the Crimson Tide defense, and Reed was a big reason for Alabama'a effectiveness.
Last fall wasn't the first year that Reed impressed as he was an All-SEC honorable mention in 2014. He was a quality run defender for Alabama that season, racking up 55 tackles, 6.5 for a loss, one sack, and five passes broken up. During his senior year, Reed totaled 53 tackles with 4.5 for a loss, one sack and two passes batted. At the Senior Bowl, he flashed more pass-rush potential as he did well in the pass-rushing one-on-ones.
There is no doubt that Reed is ready to defend the run as a pro. He is very strong at the point of attack and offensive linemen can't push him out of his gap. Reed eats up blockers and holds his ground against downhill runs. With his strength, he is skilled at shedding blocks and chasing down ball-carriers outside of his gap. Reed has the size and build to be a nose tackle who eats up double teams.
In the pass rush, Reed will need development. He has a strong bull rush, but he needs more moves to break free from blockers. Reed has quickness and athleticism, so the skill set is there to develop. Thus, he has a shot at being a three-down defender. As a rookie though, Reed probably will come out of the game in passing situations.
For the NFL, Reed could fill a lot of positions on the defensive line. He could be a nose tackle in a 3-4 or 4-3 defense. Reed also has enough length to go with his strength to set the edge as five-technique defensive end in a 3-4 defense. If he develops his pass rush, he has the quickness and athleticism to be a three-technique defensive tackle in a 4-3. However, that could be unlikely. In the 2016 NFL Draft, Reed is likely to go as a top-25 pick.
Player Comparison: Michael Brockers. There are a lot of similarities between Reed and Brockers. Brockers (6-5, 326) is slightly bigger, but he also entered the NFL as a tough run defender who needed to develop his pass rush. Brockers isn't a big sack producer, but he can contribute to the pass rush. Brockers was a mid-first-rounder in the 2014 NFL Draft, and Reed could go in the same range.
NFL Matches: New York Giants, Detroit, New Orleans, Indianapolis, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Arizona, Seattle and Denver
There are a lot of teams that could take Reed in the 2016 NFL Draft. With Cullen Jenkins' decline, Reed could go as high as to the Giants at the 10th-overall pick. New York needs to get more talent on its defensive line. End is a bigger need than tackle for the Giants, but Reed could be tempting for them to upgrade their interior.
The middle of the first round could be a sweet spot for Reed as there are a lot of options with teams picking in the teens. The Saints have to upgrade their defense and improve their pass defense. Reed would give them more talent up front.
The Lions badly need to upgrade their defensive tackles. Reed would give them an interior run stuffer. Maybe he could develop the ability to rush the quarterback and be a nice defender to pair with Ziggy Ansah.
Kyle Williams is aging, so the Bills could easily address their front seven this offseason. Reed could form a tough interior with Marcel Dareus.
Late in the first round, the Bengals could be a fit. They could use another tackle to complement Geno Atkins. Brandon Thompson and Devon Still didn't turn into starters, while Domata Peko is aging and declining. Reed would be a perfect fit as a nose tackle next to Atkins.
Reed could also be in play for the Cardinals. They have to replace Darnell Dockett and want to improve their pass rush this offseason. Reed could form a nice duo with Calais Campbell. Seattle could use an injection of talent on the interior as well. Brandon Mebane is aging, and the Seahawks have had problems with interior rush once injuries have hit their defense.
The Colts could use more talent on their defensive line. Reed could fit with them as a nose tackle or a five-technique defensive end.
Denver locked up Derek Wolfe, but will be looking hard at defensive line talent in this draft. Malik Jackson may not be re-signed. Antonio Smith and Vance Walker aren't long-term players, while some other defensive lineman aren't far from free agency. Reed could be a fit for the Super Bowl champs, and sources say the Broncos love Reed, but it seems unlikely he would fall to their pick.