NFL draft profile: No. 12 — Temple LB Haason Reddick, explosive rusher but positional question

Temple LB Haason Reddick
6-foot-1, 237 pounds

Key stat: Broke out in his senior season with 22.5 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks after accumulating 23.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks in his first three seasons combined.

Temple’s Haason Reddick came out of nowhere to develop into a first-round prospect. (AP)
Temple’s Haason Reddick came out of nowhere to develop into a first-round prospect. (AP)

The skinny: Reddick barely played his final two years of high school after suffering a fractured femur as a junior and a torn meniscus as a senior and was forced to walk on at Temple as a zero-star recruit. Reddick weighed 185 when he arrived and was pegged to play cornerback but following his redshirt season of 2012 he was playing defensive end, eventually played nine games (one start) mostly as a reserve. Got off track following a season-ending injury in 2014 and an offseason arrest in 2015, charged with aggravated assault for his role in an off-campus fight but avoided trial after participating in a diversionary program. In the fall that year, Reddick started 12 of the team’s 14 games at end and started to come on, with 12.5 TFLs and five sacks. Earned right to switch to single-digit uniform number, granted to players on Matt Rhule’s team who display exemplary toughness. Reddick then backed it up with a standout senior season in 2016, adding four pass breakups and three forced fumbles to his gaudy TFL and sack totals.

Reddick was invited to the Senior Bowl and was one of the week’s standout players, looking almost unblockable at times in one-on-one pass-rush drills. Turned in exceptional numbers at the NFL scouting combine in the 40-yard dash (4.52), vertical jump (36.5 inches), broad jump (133 inches), and 3-cone drill (7.01) and working out with the linebackers. Reddick will turn 23 in September.

Best-suited destination: It would be hard to imagine him as a down lineman in the NFL at 240-250 pounds, assuming he could bulk up that much, given his smaller frame. Some weight gain would be natural, but we feel his best role will be as a 3-4 rusher, or perhaps even as a do-it-all linebacker whose responsibilities are worked in naturally and gradually (like the New England Patriots did with Jamie Collins in his rookie season). Teams we think might have particular interest in Reddick include the Miami Dolphins, Tennessee Titans, Indianapolis Colts, Baltimore Ravens, Kansas City Chiefs, Atlanta Falcons, Detroit Lions, Oakland Raiders, New Orleans Saints and Washington Redskins.

Upside: Quick-twitch rusher who shoots off the snap and closes fast. Short-area burst and quickness, and his combine 40 times opened eyes and stirred the creative juices of defensive coaches watching him. Reddick has natural rush instincts and can turn the corner in a flash. Also can dip underneath and slip through tight windows to disrupt. Light on his feet and can bounce from one gap to the next quickly. Flattens with urgency and will make big plays from the backside. Also rushes with good power and leverage for his size, converting speed to power as well as any rusher close to his size in this draft class. Rushed from left and right sides in both two- and three-point stances.

Has good field vision, likely developed from playing safety in high school, coming into the program as a corner, playing as down rusher and also dropping into short zones and standing up. A rare three-level player in college. Quick and agile enough to be used as spy against mobile quarterbacks. Wasn’t asked to drop into space all that often but showed some decent instincts and coverage ability in short zones. If you want to see a good example of how Reddick does a solid job of reading the quarterback’s eyes in zone coverage and reacting quickly, here’s a play against Cincinnati that demonstrates it:

Temple’s Haason Reddick can close quickly when asked to drop into coverage. (Draftbreakdown.com)
Temple’s Haason Reddick can close quickly when asked to drop into coverage. (Draftbreakdown.com)

Engaging in team interviews at Senior Bowl, NFL combine and private meetings. The kind of player and person NFL teams want in their locker room. Tough, smart and driven. Earned respect of Owls staff and set tone in the locker room. Self-made player who is still ascending.

Downside: Short arms and sawed-off frame. Could get swallowed up by long-armed tackles who can handle Reddick’s quickness. Has big hands but must learn how to use them to better disengage from blocks. Can get swallowed up if he doesn’t get a step on bigger offensive linemen. Power and leverage might not translate as easily moving forward in the NFL. Often runs too wide or upfield on rushes and can get out of his lane. More effective rushing from the left side than the right (although that didn’t appear to be the case in Senior Bowl 1-on-1s).

Must continue to diversify his game — honing his pass-rush moves, earning more reps on his feet and demonstrating he can cover backs and tight ends, especially in man coverage. Played some “Mike” and “Jack” linebacker (see South Florida game) and occasionally had trouble finding the ball and overshot some gaps. Still developing LB instincts. Stamina could be a slight concern, despite his athleticism — rotated in and out at Temple and has an injury history dating back to high school. Will flail and bounce off too many tackles — needs to learn how to wrap up and finish better. Character must be investigated following 2015 incident (although this is not a concern for most teams).

Scouting hot take: “Love his tape, love the motor. I just don’t know where you’d play him. He’d be a 4-3 [Will] [linebacker] for us … I think. We had a little disagreement on that with the coaches when we kicked that around a bit. But no way we’re putting him with his hand on the ground, not full time I mean. I’d guess he gets looks by more 3-4 teams. I think it comes down to the team that drafts him has to have a pretty clear vision of how they’re using him, and your Year 2 plan might [be different] than your Year 2 plan. But I see the Ravens take guys like this every year and make them into players. That’s what good coaching staffs do.” — NFC college scouting director

Player comp: He’s a tricky player to pigeonhole, depending on what position he’s projected to, but we see elements of Jerry Hughes, Jamie Collins, Jason Worilds, Rosevelt Colvin and Erik Walden as an undersized rusher.

Expected draft range: Top-25 pick, and perhaps as high as the early teens.

Previous profiles

Nos. 51-100: Here’s who just missed the cut
No. 50: Indiana OG-C Dan Feeney
No. 49: Iowa DB Desmond King
No. 48: Vanderbilt LB Zach Cunningham
No. 47: Wisconsin pass rusher T.J. Watt
No. 46. Alabama pass rusher Tim Williams
No. 45. Washington CB Sidney Jones
No. 44. Alabama LB Ryan Anderson
No. 43. Ohio State WR-RB Curtis Samuel
No. 42. Florida DT Caleb Brantley
No. 41. Connecticut DB Obi Melifonwu
No. 40. USC CB-KR Adoree’ Jackson
No. 39. Texas Tech QB Patrick Mahomes
No. 38. Michigan State DL Malik McDowell
No. 37: Ole Miss TE Evan Engram
No. 36: Florida LB Jarrad Davis
No. 35: Washington S Budda Baker
No. 34: Oklahoma RB Joe Mixon
No. 33: Alabama CB Marlon Humphrey
No. 32: Florida CB Quincy Wilson
No. 31: Tennessee RB Alvin Kamara
No. 30: Michigan DB-RS Jabrill Peppers
No. 29: Alabama OT Cam Robinson
No. 28: Notre Dame QB DeShone Kizer
No. 27: LSU CB Tre’Davious White
No. 26: Missouri DE Charles Harris
No. 25: UCLA pass rusher Takkarist McKinley
No. 24: Michigan DE Taco Charlton
No. 23: Wisconsin OT Ryan Ramczyk
No. 22: Utah OT Garett Bolles
No. 21: Western Kentucky OG-C Forrest Lamp
No. 20: Florida State RB Dalvin Cook
No. 19: Miami (Fla.) TE David Njoku
No. 18: Tennessee DE Derek Barnett
No. 17: Clemson QB Deshaun Watson
No. 16: North Carolina QB Mitchell Trubisky
No. 15: Washington WR John Ross
No. 14: Clemson WR Mike Williams
No. 13: Western Michigan WR Corey Davis

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Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at edholm@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter!

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