Wide receiver has become a very popular pick for the New York Giants, and Giants fans are becoming very familiar with the names at the top of the draft board.
But while this wide receiver class may not have the sure-fire stars that previous classes have boasted, it has intriguing players throughout the depth chart. Giants fans would do well to be familiar with as many receivers as possible. We don’t know if the team will be able to address the position in the first round, or if they’ll turn around and double-down on the position later in the draft.
Michigan State receiver Jayden Reed isn’t as highly regarded as some receivers in this draft class. However, he is consistent, productive, versatile and very competitive.
Could he bring those traits to the Giants’ offense?
Prospect: Jayden Reed (1)
Games Watched: vs. Miami (2021), vs. Michigan (2021), vs. Minnesota (2022), vs. Wisconsin (2022)
Games Played: 43
Yards (YPC): 2,866 (14.1 per catch)
Games Played: 11
Yards (YPC): 636 (11.6 per catch)
Best: Quickness, agility, burst, contact balance, hands, versatility competitive toughness
Worst: Height and length, long speed
Projection: An important rotational receiver with starting upside in a Spread or West Coast offense.
Michigan State’s Jayden Reed is a compact, competitive, athletic, and versatile wide receiver prospect.
Reed played out of several alignments for the Spartans, playing out wide as a true wide receiver and as a slot receiver. He lined up on the line of scrimmage as an X receiver and off the line of scrimmage as a flanker, and was also put in jet motion.
Reed has a solid release package against both man and zone coverage. He explodes off the line of scrimmage against zone coverage, getting into his route with little wasted movement or energy. He uses subtle fakes and hesitation to upset cornerbacks’ timing in man coverage, allowing him to use his quickness and burst to get into his routes cleanly.
He does a good job of pressing his routes vertically whenever possible, getting on corners’ toes before breaking back toward the ball. Reed has very good agility and quick feet, allowing him to break suddenly, and he has a good burst out of his breaks. Reed is skilled at locating, tracking, and making adjustments to the ball in the air. He also has very good body control and hands at the catch point. He is able to extend to maximize his catch radius or contort his body to complete catches along the sideline.
Reed is a dangerous player with the ball in his hands. He has good vision as a ball carrier and is able to find running lanes in traffic. He also has a thick, strong lower body to go with good contact balance. He’s capable of breaking arm tackles or bouncing off of shoulder checks to pick up yards after contact.
He is also a very willing blocker who looks for work the way offensive linemen do – or at least should. He is fearless taking on bigger defenders and is unafraid of contact as a blocker or receiver.
Reed’s biggest weakness is his size, or rather his lack thereof. He has an inherently limited catch radius and bigger corners are able to play through or around him. Reed’s lack of length can also show up against bigger defenders when he’s asked to block.
Reed was also limited by the offense at Michigan State. He had inconsistent quarterbacking and wasn’t asked to run a particularly diverse route tree in the Spartans’ run-first offense. He could have a learning curve early on at the NFL level.
Overall Grade: 7.2
Michigan State wide receiver Jayden Reed projects as an important rotational receiver at the NFL level, at least to start his career.
He has the potential to develop into a starting receiver in an offense that makes heavy use of 11 personnel packages and is based in West Coast or Spread principles.
He has the quickness, change of direction skills, route precision to win quickly as a slot receiver. Likewise, while he has the occasional concentration drop when he tries to turn upfield before securing the ball, he has the hands and body control to make difficult catches in traffic or along the sidelines. And while Reed is undersized, he has enough thickness to deal with physical coverage on the outside – not to mention the competitive toughness to take on top cornerbacks. He could be a moveable piece for an offensive coordinator who likes moving players around the formation.
Coaches will certainly find themselves attracted to Reed’s fire and competitiveness. He plays hard without the ball and works as hard to sell misdirection routes as he does as a blocker.
Reed is flying under the radar at the moment, but he could make some team very happy in the mid-rounds.