Each day leading up to the 2018 NFL draft, I’ll break down one of my top 50 prospects. In some cases, we had to make tough omissions because of injuries, poor pre-draft workouts or incomplete information. For more complete scouting reports on all the prospects, check out the Pro Football Weekly 2018 Draft Guide, which is available for order now.
36. Stanford S Justin Reid
6-foot, 207 pounds
Key stats: Ranked first in the Pac-12 last season in interceptions (five) and 14th in tackles (99).
The skinny: Coming from an athletically blessed family and playing football at a Dutchville (La.) prep program that has produced some high draft picks in recent years — Landon Collins, Eddie Lacy and Reid’s brother, Eric — it’s no shock that Justin also would be bound for the NFL. Their father, Eric Reid Sr., ran track at LSU and was a national champion in the 110 meters, setting a school mark that wouldn’t be bested for 23 years and being inducted into the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame. Their mother, Sharon Guillory-Reid, played tight end and defensive end for the Baton Rouge Wildcats in the Women’s American Football League. And the third brother, Ryan, played soccer at Coastal Carolina.
Reid chose his own path at Stanford, playing in 12 games as a true freshman in 2015. He earned a starting role in 10-of-13 games as a sophomore, named honorable mention all-Pac-12 despite not intercepting a pass. In 2017, Reid turned in a banner final season, being named second-team Associated Press All-American and first-team all-conference, racking up 99 tackles (6.5 for loss) and five interceptions.
Reid declared for the 2018 NFL draft and put in a good workout at the NFL scouting combine.
Upside: Nice versatility — lined up deep, up in the box, over the slot. Has covered backs, tight ends and receivers and been used as run-support defender. Asked to handle tough assignments, including quick slot receivers, and handled them admirably. Smart and coachable. Tough, driven and serious-minded. Knows his assignments, gets others lined up and is considered reliable. Comes from program that has consistently cranked out solid NFL talent under David Shaw.
Ball skills appeared to improve last season. Turned in a solid performance in the positional workout at the combine. Great speed, good size and ideal traits for safety. Has great athletic bloodlines. Has plus size for the position and a frame that might support a few more pounds. Track speed and elite quickness. Explosive movement skills. Generally takes good paths to the ball and can cover a lot of ground to make a play.
Has nice blitz potential. Watch as Reid times up the snap beautifully, comes firing in from the slot, ragdolls 306-pound Washington State left tackle Andre Dillard and affects the throw of QB Luke Falk:
Downside: Even with improved ball skills, it’s still considered an area in which Reid can grow. Has trouble judging the flight of the ball at times. Struggled to stay with quicker slot receivers. Athletic skills didn’t always translate in man coverage in space. Can come in a little high when defending the run, making him a bigger target for blockers. Also will miss tackles in run support — can be a little more technically sound in this area.
Watch as Reid tries to arm tackle — and go high against — San Diego State RB Juwan Washington, which doesn’t work out well:
Opponents tried to lure Reid in with play-action and QB eye manipulation. Risk taker who will gamble and lose — sometimes when he was the last line of defense. Might be best in a zone-heavy scheme and/or playing closer to the line of scrimmage where his risk-taking can be mitigated. Can you coach him to tone down his over-aggressiveness while keeping him impactful?
Best-suited destination: Reid fits the mold of a safety who can be embraced in that he has filled a variety of roles and could bulk up and play a nickel or dime LB role or continue working on covering the slot or matching up with tight ends and backs. Among the teams that could be a good fit for Reid include the Philadelphia Eagles, Green Bay Packers, New England Patriots, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Seattle Seahawks, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Cincinnati Bengals, Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars and Washington.
Quotable: “[Reid] moved really well [at the scouting combine]. He's not a ballhawk — didn't judge the ball well. Great straight-line speed. Smart. Will be a box guy — not a five-tool guy that can play in the box, cover [No. 2 receivers] and get takeaways. But he's a first-rounder. It's [Minkah Fitzpatrick], [Derwin] James, then Reid.” — Defensive backs coach
Player comp: Morgan Burnett
Expected draft range: Between picks 25 and 45 overall
50. Oregon RB Royce Freeman
49. South Dakota State TE Dallas Goedert
48. LSU DE-LB Arden Key
47. Ohio State C Billy Price
46. Alabama S Ronnie Harrison
45. Oklahoma State QB Mason Rudolph
44. Texas A&M S Armani Watts
43. South Carolina TE Hayden Hurst
42. UCF CB Mike Hughes
41. USC RB Ronald Jones II
40. Maryland WR D.J. Moore
39. UTEP OG Will Hernandez
38. Stanford DT Harrison Phillips
37. Ohio State DE Sam Hubbard