Unpacking Future Packers: No. 64, Michigan State WR Jayden Reed
The Unpacking Future Packers Countdown is a countdown of 100 prospects that could be selected by the Green Bay Packers in the 2023 NFL draft.
The Green Bay Packers need more playmakers. Christian Watson has the makings of the team’s new No. 1 wide receiver. Romeo Doubs could develop into a solid No. 2 or No. 3 wide receiver. Samori Toure has a spot on the depth chart.
With that trio, the Packers have a solid foundation in place. Now, Brian Gutekunst needs to keep adding pieces to the mix.
Green Bay’s general manager will likely look to bring in a free agent to join the young pups. Even if they bring in a veteran, Gutekunst will likely spend a Top 100 pick on the wide receiver position in the 2023 NFL Draft.
A player that Green Bay could target on day two of the upcoming draft is Jayden Reed. The Michigan State wide receiver checks in at No. 64 in the Unpacking Future Packers countdown.
An Illinois native, Reed started his collegiate career at Western Michigan. During his lone season as a Bronco, Reed caught 56 passes for 797 yards and eight touchdowns.
During his first season at Michigan State, Reed scored three touchdowns in seven games. In 2021, Reed caught 59 passes for 1,026 yards and 10 touchdowns. He also scored one rushing touchdown.
This past season Reed caught 55 passes for 636 yards and five touchdowns. He also threw one touchdown pass against Wisconsin.
“Reed entered this past season with extremely high expectations and as one of the Spartans’ most dynamic playmakers on offense and special teams,” Robert Bondy, a writer for SparansWire said. “However, he experienced a pair of injuries early in the season that ultimately hampered his ability to be that dominant playmaker Michigan State had expected entering the year. Still, when healthy later in the year he was able to put together some strong performances and notably had the game-winning score against Wisconsin in overtime.”
Reed has quick feet and is able to beat press coverage. He has an instant accelerator and the long speed to win vertically. He does a good job of selling double moves (footwork, head bobs). In 2021, Reed finished the season with 17 receptions of 20-plus yards (PFF).
4th and 4. Michigan State's Jayden Reed comes down with the reception against Dax Hill.
Reed finished last season with 17 receptions of 20-plus yards (PFF).
ST value as a KR/PR. Two PR TDs last season with a 21.6 PR average (11 attempts). pic.twitter.com/SqSmvw3C5i
— Brennen Rupp (@Brennen_Rupp) July 12, 2022
With the ball in his hands, he’s capable of weaving through traffic and turning a short pass into a big play. He’s a shifty athlete in space. Reed’s speed helps him destroy pursuit angles. The Michigan State wide receiver runs through arm tackles and if he makes the first guy miss he has the quickness to make a house call. According to Pro Football Focus, Reed racked up 581 yards after the catch over the past two seasons.
“Reed’s speed is something that is one of his positive attributes so when he was able to get in the open field he generally would make at least one defender miss,” Bondy said. “Michigan State would do a good job getting the ball in his hands in the open field through screens or quick slants, and those generally would be productive plays for the Spartans.”
Reed is sharp in and out of his breaks. He does a good job of mixing up his tempo as a route runner to keep defensive backs off balance. Reed does a good job of finding the soft spots in coverage and uncovering.
“Route running was something that Reed was able to improve upon during his career at Michigan State,” Bondy said. “This was especially noticed most recently at the Senior Bowl where he was considered one of the top wide receivers in attendance.”
The Jayden Reed breakout continues at the Senior Bowl. Having an outstanding week so far.
— Ian Cummings (@IC_Draft) February 1, 2023
He tracks the ball well and plays bigger than his frame. When the ball is in the air he plays with a “my ball” mentality and has outstanding body control. He has excellent hand-eye coordination and the strength to make catches in traffic.
“Despite Reed being a rather smaller wide receiver, at least compared to those in the NFL, he had this amazing ability to high-point the ball and bring down big receptions over defenders, “Bondy said. “That combined with his speed made him a tough cover for many when he was at full strength.”
Reed finished his collegiate career with three punt return touchdowns. He averaged 15.3 yards per punt return and 20 yards per kick return. The Michigan State product could see the field immediately as a return specialist.
“It’s hard to determine how his kick and punt return production at the college level will translate to the NFL but it certainly was one of the additional elements he brought to Michigan State,” Bondy said. “Reed had a pair of punt return touchdowns during his junior season and I would have anticipated at least one more during his senior season had he not been banged up with injuries.”
At 5-10 and 191 pounds, Reed isn’t a stalk blocker. However, he gets after it as a blocker out on the edge.
Jayden Reed showing some tenacity as a blocker pic.twitter.com/HcdSiye1w4
— Tyler Browning (@DiabeticTyler) February 17, 2023
Fit with the Packers
Green Bay needs more speed and Reed has speed for days. Reed’s calling card is his ability to win vertically with his track-like speed. However, he’s a three-level threat that would provide the Packers with an electric playmaker.
WR Jayden Reed showing off his see-yah speed.
Also did a nice job returning punts today. pic.twitter.com/6BaAZvAFpT
— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) February 1, 2023
“Reed may be a bit undersized for the prototypical NFL wide receiver but he has all of the skillsets,” Bondy said. “Catching ability, speed, route running, that make him the perfect guy to take a chance on with a later round pick. Add in the ability that he could be a factor on special teams as a return specialist, and if he’s still around on day three of the draft I’d consider him a potential steal for some team.”
After not taking a wide receiver in the first three rounds for five years, the Packers have taken a wide receiver on day two of the draft for two straight years. With the Packers in need of more playmakers, that streak will likely extend to three years and Reed could be the pick.
A team that’s in desperate need of more speed, Reed could give the Packers a much-needed electric playmaker to team with Watson and Doubs as Green Bay continues to rebuild the wide receiver room.