Jets’ cornerback D.J. Reed stole the headlines, and the ball in Saturday’s practice during training camp.
The newly acquired free-agent from Seattle picked off quarterback Zach Wilson and returned it 100 yards for a touchdown.
Not a bad way to make an early impression.
New York gave Reed a three-year, $33 million dollar deal this offseason in hopes of improving their poor pass defense ranking from a season ago.
In 2021, the Jets pass defense ranked No. 30, surrendering an average of 259.4 passing yards per game.
It was easy to see why the Jets finished the season 4-13.
NFL teams can’t win with a secondary like that.
Enter Reed into the equation.
Will he help the Jets’ revamped secondary improve?
I wasn’t as impressed as I thought I would be watching Reed on game film last season in Seattle.
Building a championship level team is all about being able to identify and acquire players who can move the meter.
The biggest concern about Reed last season is how passive and reluctant he looked.
Those two words don’t equate to moving the meter.
Winning is an attitude and winning corners have a real aggressive streak and a lot of confidence.
I didn’t see those attributes in Reed.
Granted, Reed played a lot of soft off man and zone coverages in Seattle’s scheme.
In four seasons, two with San Francisco and two with Seattle, he had four interceptions.
Reed had 16 passes defensed in his time in Seattle, but only two passes defensed combined in his first two seasons.
As a fifth-round pick in the 2018 draft, I guess it’s no big surprise he doesn’t have elite coverage skills. If he had those kind of athletic attributes, he would have gone higher in the draft.
Reed is not a dynamic playmaker. He is a bend and hope he doesn’t break corner. On 68 targets, he gave up up 35 catches (T-73rd) last season according to Pro Football Focus.
He’s more of a secure the tackle after the catch has been made type.
This is apparent given the fact he is on his third NFL team in his fifth season.
Teams don’t tend to let lock-down corners get away.
If I was an opposing offensive coordinator, I would attack him on short routes, slants, outs and comeback routes.
I would test the daylights out of him on deep stop and go’s with speed.
Reed also struggles against bigger and more physical receivers.
Grading D.J. Reed
5-foot-9, 188 pounds
2021 Seattle Game Film Reviewed: (9/19) TEN, (10/25) NO and (1/2) DET
Grade: C (Average; nothing special about the player)
Off man zone corner with above-average straight-line speed, but lacks short-area burst and second-gear. Looks flat-footed. Shows decent, but not great bend or flexibility. Tentative and tends to provide too much cushion underneath. Gives up too much route leverage. Tends to fall behind in press man. Looks to play off and carry anything once it reaches the intermediate route level, where he competitively creates smaller throwing windows. Struggles to make a play on the ball due to average flexibility and lack of burst. Offenses are still able to complete passes in this area. Able to run with receivers deep, but receivers with speed showed they can get behind him just enough. Tends to play the receiver deep and not the ball. Has very average pass overall coverage techniques. Wants little to do with support in passing or running situations. Plays small and sticks his nose in there when he has to and makes a shoe-string tackle. After watching him, it made sense Seattle moved on.
I don’t think it will take opposing offensive coordinators long to figure out it’s better to pick on Reed than Ahmad Gardner.
Scouting comes down to one question.
Can he help us win?
The answer on Reed is no.
Corners who are a step or two late get teams beat. Nothing about Reed excited me on his game film.
I didn’t see the want.
Reed is decent, but decent isn’t going to cut it against with the kinds of offenses the Jets will play in the AFC East.
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