(Editor’s Note: Heading into the upcoming NFL Draft, held April 25-27, DallasCowboys.com will take a closer look at the prospects, including some that could be potential fits with the Cowboys. Today’s featured player is LSU safety Eric Reid).
Name: Eric Reid
Age: 21 (born Dec. 10, 1991)
Honors: Reid was designated first-team All-America by six different publications after his junior season, with another six publications naming him to the second team. He was a 2012 first-team All-SEC safety and made the 2012 SEC Academic Honor Roll.
Key Stat: Reid probably isn’t the type of ballhawk who is going to record eight interceptions in a season, but he has a knack for making game-changing plays when they have to be made. He first demonstrated that ability as a freshman when he intercepted future first round draft pick Ryan Tannehill in the Cotton Bowl to spark an LSU rout of Texas A&M. His goal-line interception against Alabama in November of 2011 might have been the play of the season in the Tigers’ eventual overtime win against the nation’s top team. Reid also notched a crucial fourth quarter pick of South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw that helped flip a 14-13 deficit into a 23-21 win.
Where He’s Headed: Reid is widely regarded as one of the top three or four safeties in the draft. In fact, behind Texas’ Kenny Vaccaro, you could argue that Reid is this class’ next best option in center field. That probably won’t translate to a first round pick, however, unless it’s at the tail end of the round. It’s a guarantee Reid will be gone by the 50th pick. Whether not he hangs around until the Cowboys can take him isn’t so sure.
How He Helps the Cowboys: Safety is one of the team’s biggest needs, especially after we saw what happens when a few injuries strike the secondary. Reid still has plenty of development ahead of him, but he’s got the body to see regular snaps in the NFL right now. There’s also one fun additional wrinkle: Reid started on the same side of the secondary as current Dallas cornerback
Scout’s Take: I thought he was a much better player as a junior, but scouts are trained to believe that if they have seen it once, they can see it again. … Outstanding frame and some explosive ability. … Can be a downhill player and will really drive on the ball when he sees it. … Has some linebacker-like qualities to his tackling. … Had some plays where he did a nice job of wrapping up in the open field, then he would have a play where he would go low in the hole and struggle with the tackle, so he was a little inconsistent here. … Is not the most flexible player when it comes to bending and adjusting. Just not the most fluid-moving player. … Not much quickness in his pedal. … I worry about him some in coverage. Tends to grab the receiver instead of moving with him. … Can cover tight ends up the field. Is not afraid to throw his body around, but again, did it more as a junior than he did as a senior. … Took some funny angles to the ball where he ended up behind the ball carrier. Against
Florida and Texas A&M this was a struggle for him. … Didn’t do a good enough job of handling the blockers on the screen and it ended up as a large gain against A&M. … In talking to scouts around the league, they said it was the best safety workout that they had seen in a while, which is surprising because of some of the tightness you see in his play. … The junior season was a first-round player; this last year there were too many times when he wasn’t as good. … Would not take him in the first but more likely in the second, depending on who else is on the board. – Bryan Broaddus