So, everything I say in today's blog entry will be completely biased.
I find it hard to be objective when watching and writing about Utah senior WR David Reed. Ever since I saw him make the catch of the year vs. TCU earlier this season, I've been a big fan.
After nearly a month since his last performance, I got to watch Reed lace it up one last time in last Wednesday's Poinsettia Bowl vs. California, and man, was I glad the Utes made a concerted effort to get him the ball. Reed finished with six catches for 103 yards (17.2-yard average), setting the school's single-season receptions (81) and receiving yardage (1,188) marks in the process. He could have had more. A third-quarter touchdown off a flea-flicker was called back, and freshman QB Jordan Wynn was late getting the ball to an open Reed in the left corner of the endzone early in the fourth quarter.
Nonetheless, last week I saw a lot of the traits that at least to me, make Reed such a compelling prospect. For starters, he almost got killed at about the 9:40 mark of the second quarter after Wynn was late getting him the ball on a drag across the field. Like a trooper, though, Reed slowly but surely scraped himself off the carpet on a hit that would have taken many out of the game, especially considering the somewhat meaningless circumstances.
An ever-present deep threat, Reed made his hay against the Golden Bears catching short screens and leaving DBs in his dust. I counted three screens in particular in which Reed turned what could have easily been one- to two-yard gains into double-digit chunks, flashing impressive open-field elusiveness and short-area quickness.
Now, I'm not buying into the comparisons made in Reed's university bio to the Carolina Panthers' Steve Smith. Yes, they both are from Utah, but Reed does not nearly have the strength and vertical speed that separates Smith from the pack. Reed does possess, however, ridiculous body control, and he makes the acrobatic catch look routine. I don't know that he'll run a sub-4.5 40-time at the Combine, but neither did Davone Bess (4.76) and he's on pace to finish with more than 70 catches this season.
I don't see Reed getting consideration until Round Five — slender and slower is not a combination NFL scouts covet. But if you get him one-on-one downfield, throw it up to him. He'll get it.