Jarran Reed is the kind of player who could really solve the Bengals' dilemma at defensive tackle. They have one of the best in the NFL in Geno Atkins, but they don't really have a truly 'great' pairing for him in the starting lineup. Domata Peko has been a solid starter for the Bengals for years, but he'll be 32 when the season starts. Without another viable starting defensive tackle to fill in for Peko when he's gone, picking up the future at defensive tackle could be a great idea.
Alabama had one of the best defensive tackle tandems in all of college football last year with A'Shawn Robinson and Jarran Reed. Robinson is the more talked about prospect, but Reed is a solid player who better fits the Bengals' scheme.
Height/weight: 6'3", 307 lbs
Arm Length: 33 3/8"
3-Cone drill: 7.77 sec
Vertical Jump: 31.0"
Broad Jump: 104.0"
20-yard shuttle: 4.75 sec
NFL Comparisons:Eddie Goldman (NFL.com), Dan Williams (CBS)
There hasn't really been a lot of talk about Reed to the Bengals; he hasn't knowingly met with the team and is likely to be taken off the board a few picks before they have a chance to draft him. However, he does fit what you'd expect them to be looking for pretty well. As evidenced by his career at Alabama, he seems to be ok with being the complementary tackle next to a highly talked about superstar. He's not particularly great at pass rushing, but he's good at stopping the run and doesn't get pushed back easily.
If you pair him with Geno Atkins, the Bengals could end up boasting one of the best defensive tackle tandems in the NFL. Atkins is known as a particularly adept pass rusher who is also effective against the run, but without much help in the starting lineup he consistently sees double teams that can render him ineffective at crucial moments. Reed is a steady player who will get past you if you're not careful, but is also strong enough to take on the extra blocker to free someone else up on the line.
Strengths: Reed is a big, strong defensive tackle who will absolutely not let himself be pushed around by offensive linemen. He's quick with both his hands and his instincts, so he can recognize and react to a play as it happens, allowing him to adjust as necessary. He didn't miss a single tackle for his entire senior season at Alabama, which is a particular area of concern for the Bengals' defense. He wasn't necessarily expected to really make a name for himself like he did, which shows the ability to battle through adversity and hardship.
Weaknesses: For as good as he is at chasing down runners, he's equally as bad at pressuring the passer. That's not to say it is completely impossible for him to break into the backfield on passing downs, but every pressure he gets will probably come as a surprise. He averaged one sack per year at Alabama, and a lot of that had to do with poor hand work and an inability to bull rush. He's not a strong enough athlete to work as a nose tackle in a 3-4 system, so he will need to be paired with a high end defensive tackle in a 4-3 system.
Bottom Line: For all of the downsides to his game, Reed is an absolute monster when given a chance to focus on stopping the run. He's got the kind of instincts that will make his missed tackles very few and far between, hopefully making up for his average athleticism. A team like the Bengals who already have a top level pass rusher, could do very well to pick him up and work him into the system to help cover all of their bases. If he's available at No. 24, he's got to at least be in the discussion.
Projected round: 1