Owls Option: Could Temple LB/DE Haason Reddick Be a Fit for the Dolphins at No. 22?

Background:

Haason Reddick’s football career to this point can be summed up with two words: adversity and progression.  In high school, Reddick played on both sides of the ball as a starting safety and running back.  Reddick wasn’t offered any football scholarships, but instead walked on at Temple, where he was moved to defensive end (a position he’d never played before).  After being redshirted for his freshmen season, Reddick began to see some action at DE and quickly progressed each year as the Owl’s top pass rusher.  Before his senior season, Reddick continued to become one of the best players at Temple and earned himself a single-digit jersey, delegated by his teammates as being one of the toughest on the team. Reddick finished his final season at Temple with First-Team All AAC, invites to the Reese’s Senior Bowl and NFL Combine, and now, likely a place in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft.

Positives:

When watching Reddick, it’s easy to see that the physical traits are all there.  He has a great combination of reaction skills and pursuit to the ball.  Reddick’s athleticism shines through when he operates in space and reacts to a play going away from him.  He is explosive and flashes across the screen; Reddick actually has to ability to make plays that a lot of current NFL linebackers wouldn’t be able to make.  In the clip below, Reddick shows his rare lateral ability and speed: He instantly recognizes a receiver coming to his side in motion, anticipates the play call, and runs the ball carrier down from behind for a short loss.

Reddick - Athlete outside vs. Run.gif

Reddick produced at a high level for the Temple defense.  His athleticism allowed him to make plays on the ball both sideline to sideline and through the air. Where he can really excel at the next level, however, is rushing the passer.  He has terrific balance and speed, both of which allow him to bend the edge and get to the QB quickly.  At his impressive combine workout, Reddick posted a 1.59 second 10-yard split and a 4.52 second 40-yard dash (the best among linebackers).  In the two clips below, when rushing the passer, Reddick first shows off his bend and explosiveness.  

Reddick - bend.gif

reddick Sack 2.gif

The hype train for Haason Reddick took off full steam after he dominated the NFL combine with outstanding numbers, but I believe he has a chance to be more than just a workout warrior.  His production in college translates well at the next level, and it can be calculated using what NFL Analyst Pat Kirwan calls the “Production Ratio.”

An edge player or LB’s Production Ratio is found by adding their sacks and tackles for loss, then dividing that number by their total games played.  (Production Ratio = (Sacks+TFL)/Games Played.)

Reddick’s 10.5 Sacks + 22.5 TFL in 14 games in 2016 equates to a 2.35 production ratio. For reference, Emmanuel Ogbah (2.25) and Joey Bosa (2.06) were near the top of last year’s class.  Both were named to the NFL’s all rookie team in 2016  Obviously, simple stats aren’t the be-all and end-all, but when you turn on the tape, it’s easy to see that Reddick is, and will continue to be, a special player.

Reddick Sack.gif

Negatives:

Reddick gets caught in blocks often, partly due to the fact that he is undersized and has shorter arms than most defensive ends.   He also lacks the hand technique and upper body strength to shed some larger offensive lineman.

Reddick Engulfed.gif

While this is currently a negative part of his game, his transition to LB in the NFL will help his cause.  As a LB, Reddick will have more time to diagnose run blocking schemes, and he will have the advantage of using his superior agility and short area quickness to avoid blockers.

An area that may negatively affect his transition to LB will be Reddick’s tackling.  As a DE at Temple, Reddick missed 16 tackles in his last two seasons.   He is sometimes caught off balance with quick direction change and instead of using his own agility to mirror the ball carrier, he lunges forward and relies on upper body strength to bring them down instead of squaring up and driving through them.  

How He Fits With the Dolphins:

Often called a ‘tweener,’ Reddick would ideally fit in 3-4 OLB position where he can use his pass-rushing speed and pursuit ability to make plays.  

For the Dolphins, Reddick would play on the outside, preferably as WLB, where he would be able to fly around and make plays in space using his speed and agility.  Reddick is tremendous in pursuit, and he has the ability to make impressive plays in space, covering RBs and TEs out of the backfield.  Reddick also could offer the Dolphins some versatility, as the team could implement him as a defensive end if need be.
Very few prospects possess the traits needed to transcend certain positions in the NFL, but Haason Reddick’s combination of ability and production could help him thrive as a linebacker at the highest level.

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