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Packers First Round Prediction: LSU Safety Eric Reid

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Packers First Round Prediction: LSU Safety Eric Reid

The all-star games, the NFL Combine, the pro days are all in the rearview mirror and the countdown to the Draft can be measured in hours instead of days.

With little information still to gather and even less to change my mind, I'm ready to make my official prediction for the Green Bay Packers' first round draft pick, assuming they stay put at No. 26 overall: LSU junior safety Eric Reid.

To be sure, my prediction could change on Thursday as the draft unfolds and I actually have the opportunity to see who's still on the board when the Packers are on the clock.

But as it stands right now and who I believe will be available, Reid is the metaphorical "leader in the clubhouse." If I were general manager Ted Thompson, I'd take guys like Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert and Florida International safety Jonathan Cyprien ahead of Reid, but I'm thinking they'll be gone.

By taking Reid, the Packers would be getting a safety with ideal (elite and prototypical are also suitable adjectives) size and athleticism.

Standing 6-1 and 213 lbs., he has the height necessary to stack up with today's new breed of NFL tight ends that are fast, mobile and able to stretch the field.

Arguably, Reid's most memorable play as a collegian came in LSU's 2011 regular-season game at Alabama, a matchup of two previously undefeated teams popularly dubbed the "Game of the Century" and a precursor to the BCS national championship.

With the game tied 6-6 in the fourth quarter, Reid contested a ball thrown high to 6-6 tight end Michael Williams. The LSU safety leaped and ripped the ball away from Williams at the goal line, preventing Alabama from scoring as the Tigers went on to win in overtime.

Reid's raw talent was on display in the measured drills at the NFL Combine as his 40 time of 4.53 seconds ranked among the top five safeties, but even more impressive were the disciplines designed to measure explosiveness.

In the broad jump, Reid leaped 134 inches, the longest by a safety (tied with North Carolina State's Earl Wolff) at the Combine since at least 2006 (according to NFL.com). Additionally, his vertical jump of 40.5 inches was the highest by safety (tied with Syracuse's Shamarko Thomas) in the past three seasons.

Athleticism runs in Reid family. Eric's father (Eric, Sr.) was an NCAA champion and still school-record holder in the 110-meter high hurdles at LSU, set in 1987.

Reid looks like your classic, tall, back-end safety but probably does an even better job being a physical presence in the box. He shows terrific range in getting from the hashes to the sideline as well as from the deep middle of the field to the line of scrimmage.

Without hesitation, Reid isn't afraid to fly up, break down and make a hard hit on a running back. But it's also that same aggressiveness that sometimes gets Reid in trouble. At times, he'll play too fast for his own good.

On occasion, Reid has been prone to taking poor angles to the football, which isn't a good thing for a position known as the last line of defense. One misstep in the NFL can result in a running back cruising down the sideline or a receiver streaking by for a deep touchdown pass.

For a secondary that has had its share of communication problems and finger pointing in Green Bay the past two seasons, it doesn't appear as if Reid would automatically fix those kinds of issues, at least right away.

As they say, though, it's better to make mistakes going 110 percent rather than hesitating. Reid is definitely the kind of player that's going to leave it all on the field, even if he makes a mistake from time to time.

You'd also like to see a higher level of production from Reid than the picture his statistics painted in 2012 when he made 91 tackles but only one for a loss, two interceptions, seven passes broken up and zero forced fumbles.

After a promising freshmen season, Reid took a major step forward as a sophomore in 2011 with 76 tackles, two for a loss, two interceptions and two forced fumbles. On a relative scale, he appears to have stagnated as a junior before declaring early for the NFL Draft with one year of eligibility still remaining.

Still, the ceiling his high. Reid would seem to fit in perfectly with other high-round safeties the Packers have taken over the years like LeRoy Butler, Darren Sharper and Nick Collins, each of whom took a few seasons to really put it all together.

With the proper coaching, there's reason to think Reid could be a Pro Bowl caliber safety in the NFL.

The recent history of LSU placing talented defensive backs in the NFL is a good one with the likes of Patrick Peterson of the Arizona Cardinals, Morris Claiborne of the Dallas Cowboys and LaRon Landry of the Indianapolis Colts, among others.

Certainly, the argument can be made for any number of other players for the Packers to take late in the first round. Each brings his own set of positives and negatives. There's no player without flaws.

But when you consider the tools Reid possesses along with safety being a position of perceived need in Green Bay, Reid makes a lot of sense.

Brian Carriveau is the author of "It's Just a Game: Big League Drama in Small Town America," and editor of Cheesehead TV's "Pro Football Draft Preview." To contact Brian, email carriveau@uwalumni.com.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (55) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Derek in CO's picture

Solid pick Brian. Reid stood out to me two years ago when LSU lost to Bama, he's a very good player. I like his height best of all.

Just wanted to say thanks for putting up this site. Cheesehead TV is the best one out there.

lmills's picture

I really do like Reid's size and athleticism, but his coverage liabilities scare the crap out of me. Just watching the limited tape on Youtube of him, he struggles a lot in coverage. Wouldn't you see someone like Earl Wolff in the 3rd as a more "value" pick then Reid in the 1st? He has similar athletic ability, better in coverage, but does give up a little in height. Is that worth 2 rounds of talent??

norm's picture

Reid would be the answer to the read option, he could surely shadow and chase down those QB's

Evan's picture

For what very little it's worth, I haven't seen more than 1 or 2 mock drafts that had Cyprien taken before the Packers picked.

packsmack25's picture

I've seen few that had him gone before pick 50. And he's not TT's style. Neither is Reid though, he's too slow.

ArodMoney's picture

Reid is faster than McMillian. Reid also had one of the best 10 yard times of all DBs.

packsmack25's picture

McMillan ran a 4.35 at his pro day, so no, he's not.

ArodMoney's picture

Plz don't quote a pro day time. Thats just ridiculous. You realize pro day times are fully hand timed by someone that works for the school. Then they pick the best time they came up with and release that to the public.

If you think McMillian looks faster than Nick Collins then that is outrageous.

al's picture

packmans right i remember it

Stroh's picture

ArodMoney... No NFL team would ever trust a school official w/ the times! All scouts always are doing their own times, so its consistent. That's exercise physiology degree and Strength and conditioning stuff that I learned. The biggest difference between pro day and combine is the surface. Schools generally put in running surfaces that are faster than the turf at Indy.

ArodMoney's picture

Stroh: I know each team does their own.

When you see a publicized time though, thats a school official trying to 'promote' each player. So any publicized time is worth a grain of salt.

ArodMoney's picture

40s of TT's safety selections:

McMillian 4.56
Burnett 4.42 (Pro Day)
Rouse 4.59
Collins 4.37
Underwood 4.45
Campbell 4.43 (Pro Day)

He obviously doesn't only draft speedy safeties. I think Reid's speed is plenty fast enough for TT.

packsmack25's picture

McMillian ran a 4.35 and Rouse is the only outlier there and didn't work in the Capers scheme.

ArodMoney's picture

Yea and Beanie Wells ran a 4.34. Get outta here with that.

http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2009/03/13/ohio-states-wells-clocks...

packsmack25's picture

The official combine site lists him at a 4.42.

ArodMoney's picture

Who?

Stroh's picture

Ive been preaching this for months! Thompson loves hus safeties fast and with range. Rouse is the only outlier and he was a complete bust! Even Reids 4.52 might not get Thompson to notice. He does bring a missing physical element tho.

packsmack25's picture
ArodMoney's picture

http://www.nfl.com/draft/2011/profiles/jerron-mcmillian?id=2532908

Thats kinda crazy how NFL.com has two different times for him. McMillian's tape just doesn't show 4.3 or even 4.4 speed.

I agree he does prefer speed at safety, as do I, and I think he has a speed range that he probably won't go above. But all I'm saying is Reid has speed. His 1.47 10 yard split was better than some guys who ran in the 4.3s(and better than McMillians 1.57) and much has been made of Thompsons love for the 10 yard split. I don't think Reid would be off Thompsons board, but I think guys like Cyprien, Phillip Thomas, and even Vaccarro could be.

jmac34's picture

The biggest threat for Cyprien before GB picks is Cinnci who had him in for a visit last week. Morgan Burnett ran a 4.51 40 time Packmack

jmac34's picture

oops bad info apparently but still that was a pro day which always has skewed numbers

ArodMoney's picture

I've seen reports have 4.42 and 4.51 for his pro day so who knows?

Derek in CO's picture

One thing that amazes me about this year's safety prospects--->how much bigger and stronger they all look compared to Charles Woodson. Any guy we get will add more physicality to the D. Woodson played physical, but wasn't physically imposing or hit hard.

Denver's picture

With a seemingly deep S class this year it would be a shame to have to take one at #26, but lord knows they need help at the position.

ArodMoney's picture

I agree. If Eifert or a Dlinemen they like is there I have to believe the Packers go that direction. Guys like Amerson/Shamarko/Duke should be there in later rounds and its difficult for safeties to be a home run right of the bat.

mark's picture

I would be a-ok with this pick, though I still prefer the physicality, instincts and big play ability of Matt Elam.

Bugeater's picture

You know, if that were Seattle refs in that clip it would have been an Alabama touchdown.

Still bitter...

James's picture

I don;t think we'll ever stop being bitter lol.

ted, of bill and ted's picture

i would be fine with this pick. that being said, my gut thinks ted is leaning toward philip thomas from fresno state (believe that's his name)..ted seems to really value college ballhawks in his secondary (burnett, 14 picks...heyward 15 picks) and thomas is one of the top turnover producing defenders in the ncaa. just my opinion though.

James's picture

I really like Phillip Thomas, he can make plays. He's projected late 2-3, so we certainly get him. I would have no problem with that pick at all.

ArodMoney's picture
ted, of bill and ted's picture

don't think that vid is indicitave of him being slow, the only person who burned him is deanthony thomas. he burns everyone. that video does, however, point out a tendency to not break down in space and miss tackles.

also, from the three minute mark on (the entire second half of the video) he had a great game.

Stroh's picture

Vaccaro is the best safety I the draft but Reid is my favorite! Would love the physicality he would add toour secondary. We sure the hell need it!

Evan's picture

It's interesting NFL.com actually has Cyprien rated higher. And Voccaro's NFL comp is Morgan Burnett.

al's picture

packmac25 hoo ya pic at #26

packsmack25's picture

I think Sylvester Williams is the pick if he's there. That's a big if though. The draft after pick 5 this year is just a big bunch of guesses. No one knows anything.

mark's picture

No one EVER knows anything. Remember when AJ Hawk was the safest pick in the draft? Remember when most of the league passed on a guy named Aaron Rodgers? It's always a crap shoot. You just evaluate as much as you can, trust your eyes, trust your scouts, and go with your best guess.

packsmack25's picture

I predicted Bulaga and Sherrod, and Perry was one of 3 guys I thought they might pick last year. This year, there's no telling who is going to be available when. It's really crazy. I've never seen mock drafts so incredibly scattered like this.

Evan's picture

I'd say from the very first pick this draft is a bunch of guesses.

al's picture

i leave it too TT he will get best player like to be a DE,TE,SS,? RB only if its last option more value in 3&4 rounds my fanicy pic would be de monster 6*8 347 lbs 25 is only bad part scarry blocking skills

James's picture

Are you talking about Luke Marquardt from Azusa Pacific?

Ma Linger's picture

Cyprian is way better and should be available

Nononsense's picture

I would be quite happy with Eric Reid S LSU. We know he already looks good in a yellow helmet and he played well against top competition in the SEC. Hes a good tackler and holds up very well in coverage. Also just seems like a natural leader and we can definitely use a vocal leader in the secondary.

Two days till the draft.

FITZCORE 1252'S EVO's picture

http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap1000000162675/article/cedric-benson-gre...

Two days before the draft this pops up? Could this be gamesmanship, and perhaps Lacy s in TT's sights? Or is it just as it appears, have I been watching too much Conspiracy Theory?

packsmack25's picture

I'm assuming they want to gauge where he's at in regards to his return to running 3 yards and falling down.

FITZCORE 1252'S EVO's picture

:-) give us your thoughts on Ced, Smack...

packsmack25's picture

Don't want to upset Nagler. ;)

Stroh's picture

Not too difficult to figure out... Benson was easily the best RB we had last year till Harris in the last couple games. They want to see how his foot is after surgery and if they don't take a RB in the draft, and his foot checks out they might sign him to a one year vets min contract again. Its called due diligence.

FITZCORE 1252'S EVO's picture

Stroh, you've got a gift for coming across as a know-it-all... Just an FYI. You tend to speak in such certainties, when really, you're just throwing out your opinions like everybody else. Quit taking yourself so seriously... Nobody else does.

hump's picture

wow ive been preaching safety for the 2 months ive been sharing my valued input on this site ha! now everybody thinks we should grab a safety in round 1 AWESOME YES THANKS FOR GETTING ABOARD!! Vacarro:gone...... Elam:safe ...... REID; boom or bust....... cyprien:nice player....... 2nd round Swearinger:tough but slow ....... Thomas:ball hawk but slow .......... shamarko:fast bob sanders but nuts mcdonald;stiff .......... one to watch: Earl wolff and furthermore...... ZACH ERTZ will be the packers selection at number 26 BOOK IT!!!

Jamie's picture

I would respectfully throw up.

devil doc's picture

I think Ted Thompson will eat a bowl of cinnamon toast crunch, with a tall glass of orange juice, no pulp, followed with a cup of hazelnut flavored coffee...but who knows who he will take in the first round.

I'd like to see a defensive player, and then a RB, prefer either Bernard, Lacy or Franklin.

Evan's picture

Cinnamon toast crunch and orange juice? What a horrid combination.

devil doc's picture

hahaha yeah not too tasty I suppose.

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