Every year during the Senior Bowl, there’s one player, usually from a smaller school that stands out and makes a major name for himself with excellent play.
The Detroit Lions have drafted that player the last two years, first with defensive end Ziggy Ansah in 2013, who used the Senior Bowl as a springboard to surging up draft boards and second with Princeton’s Caraun Reid, who did the same in 2014.
In February, Reid, who had been previously unknown to the football world, dominated the Senior Bowl, collecting two sacks in two consecutive plays while going up against Baylor’s Cyril Richardson on the inside. Reid’s speed and agility were huge factors in his stellar game.
As a result, most figured Reid had turned himself into a third or fourth round pick in May. Defensive tackle is a position in demand in the league, as teams try to match personnel with different offensive blocking schemes. Knowing that, surely Reid would have become valuable to a team in the earlier rounds.
Somehow, though, be it a result of his small school stature, size or intellectual nature, Reid slipped far into the fifth round, where he was quickly snapped up by the Lions. For some reason, a bevy of teams had decided to pass on a defensive linemen that collected 20.5 career sacks, 42 tackles for loss and seven blocked kicks. Regardless of any other variable, those statistics don’t lie.
Everyone else’s loss has likely become Detroit’s gain. Reid is the ideal complement for the Lions’ tandem in the middle with the sizable Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley. Reid himself should be the ideal player to push Fairley. Young enough not to know anything but hard work yet skilled enough to stick, Reid should be a thorn in Fairley’s side all offseason.
At this point, that type of motivation is exactly what the fourth year defensive tackle needs. Either his game will become consistent and rise to levels previously unseen, or he will eventually be edged out by Reid, a younger, cheaper, perhaps more motivated player at the same exact position.
Reid’s politeness and quality impression from this past weekend’s rookie camp is likely just the beginning. There’s a side of this former Tiger turned Lion that nobody should want to mess with, considering his serious game.
As brilliant as Martin Mayhew was to select Reid, he was just as lucky to have him available during round five. That’s how all good drafts become viewed in the end, though. Equal parts intellectual savvy and skill.
Interestingly enough, that sounds just like Reid himself, both the football player and the man.