The Washington Redskins bypassed a safety in the third round, but added an exciting option at tight end. Ex-Florida standout Jordan Reed can be an able deputy for Fred Davis and suits Mike Shanahan's offense.
Reed is not a classic heavyweight tight end like Rob Gronkowski. Instead he is similar to former Denver Broncos great Shannon Sharpe.
Shanahan used Sharpe very effectively in the late '90s, and Reed offers a similar build and familiar skills.
Like Sharpe, he plays very much like a wide receiver, housed in a tight end-style frame. Reed is dangerous in the open field with the ball in his hands.
The 6'2", 236-pounder is big enough to overpower defensive backs. He's also quick enough to expose linebackers and stretch underneath coverages.
His ability to cover ground at speed is something the Redskins will know how to utilize. Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan designs excellent crossing patterns to free tight ends over the middle.
Reed has the after-catch dynamism to produce big yards on these kind of plays. He also fits the mold started with second-round draft choice David Amerson.
Like Amerson, Reed is very versatile. He can be lined up anywhere across the formation and compares favorably to Aaron Hernandez, according to Greg Cosell.
Reed can align as part of the blocking scheme and release vertically or underneath. He can also work the slot and even split out as a wide receiver.
The Redskins need this kind of tight end to complement and cover for Davis. The veteran missed nine games in 2012 due to a torn Achilles.
There are also discipline concerns. Davis was suspended for four games in 2011 as a result of drug violations.
When he's on the field, Davis makes the Redskins' passing game better. However, there is quite a difference at the position without him.
Blocking specialist Logan Paulsen made a great effort to replace Davis in 2011. Yet he lacks the big-play capability the Shanahans covet at the position.
Former wideout Niles Paul is still too raw and untested to be counted on. The Redskins needed a viable alternative to Davis from this draft.
He only re-signed on a one-year contract. The Redskins will want to avoid being held to ransom next offseason if Davis has a great 2013.
Reed can give them leverage in negotiations. Although he will have to improve inconsistent blocking if he wants to see the field regularly.
The Redskins do often require the tight end to deliver seal blocks to defensive ends to secure cutback lanes, particularly for the zone-stretch runs.
However, Shanahan doesn't demand a physically dominant blocker. He can teach Reed to simply refine his technique.
One other worry might be Reed's own durability. His CBSSports.com draft profile notes that Reed "has battled numerous injuries over his career and there are some questions about how his body will hold up in the NFL."
However, if he stays healthy, Reed has a chance to become a key weapon. He gives the Redskins a tight end athletic enough to execute all of the Shanahan's plans for the position.
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