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Reyes Creeping Into Packers' Range

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Reyes Creeping Into Packers' Range

Kendall Reyes was always a good college football player considered by many to be a second-day NFL Draft choice.

But after a stellar performance at the Senior Bowl, the Connecticut defensive lineman might have persuaded some scouts and personnel types into selecting him late in the first round, perhaps as high as No. 28 overall where the Packers currently sit.

"I had a decent week at the Senior Bowl, and I just want to build on that," said Reyes at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.

The word "decent" is just Reyes being humble. He received rave reviews from observers in Mobile, Ala. in early February.

As good as he performed in the game itself––three tackles and a sack for a loss of seven yards––Reyes had an even better week of practice leading up to the contest.

Practice at the Senior Bowl is just as important as the game, maybe more important, for the players involved. Every drill, every snap of every scrimmage, is performed in front of scouts and general managers representing every NFL team, not to mention the public at large through practices sessions being televised on the NFL Network.

Playing for the North squad, Reyes was able to get a taste of the NFL when he was coached by the staff of the Minnesota Vikings, and he ended up leaving a positive impression.

"Reyes impressed at the Senior Bowl by showing the strength to be a factor on the edge in a 3-4 defense and the girth to handle inside duties if used in a 4-3 set," said Matt Miller, NFL Draft senior writer at Bleacher Report, who was in attendance at Mobile. "Reyes displayed a nice first step, something that caused me to go back and take a second look at his game film.

"Playing against better competition than he faced at UConn, Reyes' all-around game was on par with those players being projected in the early parts of the second round."

There's a fine line between early second round and late first round. But if Reyes is going to go that high, he's going to have to convince teams he can fit in their defensive scheme.

Reyes is confident he can do so, and he thinks his time at Connecticut helped prepare him for whatever system he's drafted into at the next level.

"We'd do a lot of running things out of the 4-3 and on third down we'd blitz out of the 3-4 package," said Reyes. "I was kind of all over the field. I played a lot of positions on the defensive line."

Measuring in at 6-4 and a hair under 300 pounds (299) at the Combine, Reyes would be undersized compared to the unquestioned pair of Packers' starters on the defensive line, B.J. Raji and Ryan Pickett, who are close to 350 pounds.

What the Packers really need, however, is an improved pass rush, something they sorely lacked in 2011 after Cullen Jenkins left in free agency to sign with the Philadelphia Eagles.

They might be willing to overlook sheer size in order to find an athlete good enough to consistently get after the quarterback. Given his background playing positions other than defensive line before college, Reyes definitely fits the category of "athlete."

"You'd be surprised how many defensive linemen or linemen period just played other positions in high school," said Reyes. "I played receiver, tight end and linebacker in high school. It sets you with a good base.

"If you have the type of frame that can put on weight, you can have certain advantages over some guys who weren't. But then again, some people are just naturally gifted, so definitely playing different positions helped with my versatility."

If Reyes wasn't an elite performer in college, he was a consistent one. He had 3.0 tackles for a loss and 1.5 sacks as freshman, 6.0 and 3.0 as a sophomore, 10.0 and 2.5 as a junior and 13.5 and 4.5 as a senior.

His production steadily climbed every year, which hints at room for growth and an even higher ceiling as a professional.

The ideal situation for the Packers would probably be to find the next Jenkins, a player that can play end in their base 3-4 defense and then become a pass-rushing defensive tackle in their nickel package.

And that's just what Reyes might be able to provide.

"Probably that's the whole thing about me, I'm a versatile player," said Reyes. "I could kind of see me anywhere. (NFL teams) like my ability to switch in and out of different positions."

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (25) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Lou's picture

This year just reeks of one of those years when TT trades down into the early 2nd round (e.g. 2008) and picks up an extra 3rd. Given the lack of blue-chippers and the depth of red-chippers, I would LOVE to have two 2nds, two 3rds, and two 4ths (assuming we get a 4th as our compensatory pick).

How about trading down and picking Shea McClellin somewhere in the high 30s?

Brian Carriveau's picture

It's possible the Packers could get two fourth rounders as their compensatory draft picks.

Lou's picture

Even better! What are your thoughts on this mock:
2. OLB Shea McClellin
2. C Ben Jones
3. DL Tyrone Crawford
3. CB Josh Norman
4. S Brandon Taylor
4. NT Hebron Fangupo
4. OL Jeff Allen
5. QB BJ Coleman
6-7. Who knows?

Brian Carriveau's picture

Looks awesome.

BubbaOne's picture

6-7. Who knows?

Lou, the picks you selected would give TT a very solid draft and he still should have 5 picks left. His own 6th and 7th, Jets 7th, and 2 comp picks (hopefully two 6 rounders).

It's not his M.O. but I would like to see him trade his 6th and 7th for 5th and 6th rounders next year. He could be moving up 30-60 spots w/ each pick and he still has 3 picks this year to find more good players.

Lou's picture

I love it when that happens -- you gain a full round by waiting a year. I'm waiting for the day when, over the course of six years and six trades, a 7th-rounder becomes a 1st-rounder. It's the holy grail for draft nerds like me!

BubbaOne's picture

I like it, Lou.

Keep an eye on pick 22. TT could trade up for a Fletcher Cox or someone else he covets. Barring that I definitely could see him trading down for a 2nd and 3rd. I also like McClellin and there are other options as well; Reyes could even still be there.
If TT wants to he could trade the two 3rd rounders and move into the mid 50's giving him three 2nd's. This leaves him no 3rd rounders but like Brian I think he'll have three 4th rounders.

Ebongreen's picture

With Fletcher Cox seemingly climbing draft boards everywhere, Reyes may be the next (and last) best option. Unless the Packers can land either Kendall Langford or Red Bryant in free agency, the draft is about all they'll have left to address depth on the DL.

Zub's picture

Going into the 2012 season the Packers weakest positions on the team IMO is at left tackle, center, & Safety followed by OLB & defensive tackle.

IMO you do not reach for a defensive lineman or outside LB if a probowl caliber safety or offensive tackle is there at the 28th pick.

If Nick Collins was in the game against the Giants, we win that game.

If we had Chad Clifton healthy (& 3 years younger) we win that game against the giants.

I think TT/MM will surprise people at this draft going in a complete different direction than what everyone has been talking about

Sootofan97's picture

I said the exact same thing on a previous article, I'm with u that TT will take someone that mocks/experts never linked to GB

FITZCORE1252's EVO's picture

That is quite possible.

GBPguru's picture

He always does...

PackersRS's picture

You're completely discarding both Newhouse and last year's 1st round pick Sherrod?

And we lost that game by 17. IMHO it's ludicrous to say one player would've changed that.

No doubt a healthy Clifton and Collins would've helped in that game, but we lost for a number of other reasons as well. (was supposed to be a reply to the post above.)

MarkiinMadison's picture

+1

FITZCORE1252's EVO's picture

+2

pkrNboro's picture

========begin bitching
I think it STINKS that nobody knows how to figure out a compensatory pick -- nobody that is but the commissioner. Contract? Gtd money? Performance? All three, plus other factors -- in secret proportions?

I think it's important that it gets codified, because if you look at it from year-to-year it's all over the place. Too much power in the hands of the commish.

ALSO...
...since it's meant to compensate AND it comes one year after the fact, WHY NOT let the picks be trade-able.

If your team is good enough to churn out highly sought-after players, then it should be rewarded!
========end bitching

Has anybody here watched much of Shea McClellin?
Has he peaked? or does he have an upside?

FITZCORE1252's EVO's picture

Been reading a lot about Shea lately. Don't know if he's peaked to be honest. I do know he's a big fast athlete. He worked out as. D lineman in Indy and ran what would have been a top 5 40 time against all Linebackers. He was a 3 sport letterman in HS, and won both offensive (RB) and defensive (LB) player of the year in the state.. The same year! Boise St. Moved him around quite a bit from what I can tell.

He's peaked my interest to say the least. But I'm done clamoring for Clays counterpart... Two years ago, Jerry Hughes. Last year, Brooks Reed. I'm done letting Ted break my heart, I'll just sit back and wait. And for good reason... trust.

GBP 4 LIFE

BubbaOne's picture

3rd times the charm...

Shea and Clay,
let me play,
they'll make hay,
on Sunday!

FITZCORE1252's EVO's picture

Has a nice ring to it Bubba!

PackersRS's picture

I haven't seen him play. Will take a look at his highlights, but highlights aren't enough to create a solid opinion about a player.

However, from everything that I've read about him, he sounds EXACTLY what Capers looks for in a LB. High motor, good instincts, versatility, intelligence, good chacacter.

If you think about it, TT (likely because of Capers) hasn't even considered those pass rush specialists like Hughes. He's much more likely to draft a guy that has played the 3-4 OLB position, and that has proven to be able to play the run and drop back and cover.

Again, this goes in the same mold as the 3-4 DEs he has picked so far. Maybe they'll change it after last year's performance, but if TT stays true to form, it's much more likely the Packers will draft a shorter DE than a taller one, and it's much more likely he'll draft someone who played in a 3-4 in college and has proven he can rush standing up and cover than a "tweener".

pkrNboro's picture

I saw where Shea's "cone" times were among the highest.

Is that a good indicator of coverage ability?

Glad I'm not GM (except here, ha!) -- it's tough with these tweener players: I thought Jerry Hughes was promising, but seems a dud and that Reed was a tease, but seems to be the real deal.

CHTV: Could we get a countdown Javacript timer for the draft ????

PackersRS's picture

Cone drill is a good indicator of agility, which is imperative in good coverage skills.

More to it than agility, though.

All those combine drills, they only measure raw ability, be it open field speed, acceleration, agility, upper body strenght, lower body strenght...

They're key to any NFL player, a 3-4 OLB has to have agility in order to bend past the tackles, and has to have lower body strenght in order to get a quick jump after the snap. But what does open field speed has to do with playing that position? Almost nothing. What does acceleration from a 3 point stance has to do? He rarely rushes with the hand on the ground (except in some schemes like Wade Phillips').

Moreso, football is much more than just raw ability. Does he read and react well? How many pass rushing moves can he use? Can he tell tendencies? It really is the little things that makes a player great.

FITZCORE1252's EVO's picture

Hughes is no dud. He just happens to be playing the wrong position (DE) in the wrong system (43). Oh and he's buried behind two studs in Freeney and Mathis... I say we give Indy our 1st rounder and save poor Jerry!

pkrNboro's picture

I thought I had heard that he was having a little trouble getting the playbook between his ears -- and that was a factor in his limited (virtually-non-existent?) playing time...

lars's picture

Reyes, Cox, whomever---just no more Harrell's and Neal's. No more reaching for injury-prone DLinemen (not named Raji) based on need.

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