|Are the Patriots Still Legitimate Super Bowl Contenders Without TE Rob Gronkowski?||Notes and Observations Week 14: Patriots Mount Another Improbable Comeback; Beat Browns 27-26||Connelly’s Top Ten – Patriots Stink but Exciting; Poor Gronk||Patriots Lose Gronk But Complete Miraculous Comeback to Beat Browns, 27-26|
2010 stats: 47 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks
Brooks Reed is the type of player that coaches love to coach. Reed embodies the “blue-collar” label, and it’s his work ethic and determination to succeed that makes Reed an intriguing prospect.
Throughout his five seasons at Arizona, Reed progressed each in every year before having a well-rounded senior season. His play in 2010 led Reed to the 2010 All-Pac 10 first team. In the NFL, Reed’s biggest contribution should be as an outside linebacker in the 3-4 defense. Reed’s quick first step and overall athleticism could make him a potent pass-rusher at the next level.
Because Reed played defensive end at Arizona, he often had a hard time shedding blocks. But, if he makes the switch and plays standing up, Reed should have an easier time breaking away from blockers. Another area of concern is Reed’s coverage skills. But, if you think back, the same was said about 2010 second round pick Jermaine Cunningham. The Patriots rarely used Cunningham to drop back in coverage, so the same could be done if Reed joined the Patriots.
The few negatives of Reed’s game are heavily disregarded because of all the positive things he brings to the football field. Reed’s biggest attribute is his ability to close and tackle. Very seldomly does Reed miss a tackle, which is a key for any defensive player. From a physical standpoint, Reed possesses terrific strength. At Indianapolis, for the Scouting Combine, Reed benched 225 pounds 30 times.
To paint an overall picture on Reed is simple. What you see is what you get. Reed’s a player that will come in on day one to compete and learn. Reed’s a player that will continue to progress throughout his NFL career, and Reed’s a player that will be one of the hardest workers in the locker room.
After a stellar rookie season, the Patriots have seemed to hit on Cunningham. However, despite his success — 34 tackles, two forced fumbles — Cunningham only recorded one sack, although he did generate pressure on opposing quarterbacks. On the other side, Tully Banta-Cain saw his sack numbers cut in half after a breakout 2009 season.
One big bright spot for the Patriots defensively in 2010 was the play of Rob Ninkovich. After bouncing around with the New Orleans Saints and Miami Dolphins, Ninkovich appears to have a permanent home. Last season, the Purdue alum recorded 62 tackles, four sacks and two interceptions. Ninkovich’s growing mark on the Patriots resembles that of Mike Vrabel.
Yet, having too many pass rushing outside linebackers is never a bad thing. Over the last couple of seasons, the Patriots have seeked a consistent pass rush, so being able to rotate players and keep everyone fresh will prove to be beneficial for New England.
Reed seems to fit what Bill Belichick and staff looks for in a college prospect. Reed should be available at No. 28 and No. 33 — in the second round.
Follow me on Twitter: @M_Marcantonio