From now until the 2018 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to showcase as many prospects as possible and examine both their strengths and weaknesses. Most of these profiles will feature individuals that the Pittsburgh Steelers are likely to have an interest in, while a few others will be top-ranked players. If there is a player you would like us to analyze, let us know in the comments below.
#8 Justin Reid/S Stanford – 6’1 204
– Impressive frame, upper body bulk, looks the part
– Plus athlete, excellent closing speed, sideline-to-sideline range
– Capable open field tackler with the upper body strength and length to make difficult tackles, even when he isn’t playing balanced or doesn’t have his base to help him (diving tackles)
– Great job of finding the ball in coverage, times his jumps perfectly and a strong leaper, capable of finishing plays
– Powerful hitter, physical demeanor
– Versatile, lined up in variety of spots, experience in centerfield, over slot, in box, blitzing, man/zone
– Appears to be good communicator and leader on making calls
– Reroutes in zone coverage are physical, jamming and/or funneling receivers
– Aggressive player with potential to make splash plays, wants the ball
– Very productive final season
– Great football bloodlines and athletic family
– Spent most of the time in the slot, projection in moving him to safety
– Very aggressive in man coverage, bad eye discipline at corner, and guesses on routes too often
– Gives up too many big plays
– Needs to be more consistent playing the pocket and hands of the receiver, finishing the play when he doesn’t have INT possibility
– Has to do better job coming to balance as a tackler, too often flailing and relying on athleticism and upper body strength to make the play
– Poor angles in coverage in the slot, not playing to upfield shoulder enough and gives up YAC if he can’t cut underneath and make the play
– One year of serious production
– Career: 179 tackles (10.5 TFL), 6 INTs
– 2017: 99 tackles (6.5 TFL) 5 INTs
– Younger brother of 49ers safety Eric Reid
– Dad ran track at LSU, brother plays soccer for Coastal Carolina
Reid is a tough guy to figure out, just like some of the other safeties we’ve reviewed. What makes him tough is an NFL projection. Listed by most places, including us, as a safety but at Stanford, he mostly played slot corner. Against 11 personnel (3 WRs) or Twin WR sets, he rolled down over the slot. Only against heavier personnel did we see him in more of a true safety role.
One thing I can say with confidence? He’s not staying in the slot. Reid plays like a natural safety. As a nickel corner, he was aggressive. Too aggressive. But when he had to play like a safety, he excelled.
Check out these pair of interceptions. Find the ball, time the jump, make the play.
*screams into megaphone*
That’s what the Steelers need.
And similar to DeShon Elliott, probably even better, he can cover sideline-to-sideline. Love his closing speed.
But in the slot? Not nearly as much success. As many big plays allowed as the number he created. Slot to the bottom in the clip below. Pitch and catch.
And he’s gotta be a more consistent tackler. More balance and bringing his lower half to the party.
We know he isn’t going to play in the slot at the next level. I think he can support the run well as the in-the-box SS but I worry about getting him matched up in the slot that often is problematic. I think you have to project him at free safety; not a ton of tape there. But looking at his skillset, that’s likely to be his best – and really only – fit.
I do think he’ll test well at the Combine on Monday. That’ll boost his stock and could him into the late first round consideration around where the Steelers are picking. Not a lot of safeties to choose from at that point and if the team wants to go that route, he could be their best option.
Projection: Late Day One-Early Day Two
Games Watched: vs UCLA, at Utah, vs Oregon, at Washington State, at USC