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2016 Steelers Draft Prospect Breakdown: The underrated Kalan Reed, CB, Southern Miss

Is there a CB who's really under the radar that has the potential to be a solid starting caliber player in the league? Look no further than Kalan Reed

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Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Whether it be someone comparing him to pair of lost socks, or PFF rating him as their 68th best prospect on their top 100 draft prospects and having their 3rd highest coverage grade, the writing is on the wall for Kalan Reed; he's a very underrated prospect that not a lot of people know about. The question is, how could someone be talked about almost never and all of a sudden start gaining so much traction in the scouting community?

The answer to that is not very clear; his teammate Mike Thomas started gaining a lot of momentum even before the combine, and folks now are just starting to learn about Reed. NFL teams normally know a lot more and this could be a case of everyone else learning what NFL teams have already known for a while now. Whatever it may be, the fact remains clear that Kalan Reed is a very underrated prospect and I'm here to break down his game.

Let's get down to business.

NOTE: The GIF's may will take time to load as I used a different GIF maker so I could get them from longer videos, just be patient. If they don't work try refreshing and waiting, if that doesn't work please notify me, they should work though.

Kalan Reed CB Southern Miss

Pro day results and measurables (keep in mind there are a lot of varying results across the web so I had to do a ton of searching to find the most accurate results)

Height: 5-11

Weight: 199 LB's

Arm Length: N/A?

40 yard dash: 4.38 seconds
Vertical jump: 41 1/2 inches 
Broad jump: 11 feet
Bench Press: 11 Reps
3 cone drill: N/A?


Kalan Reed coming out of high school was a three star recruit. He also played other sports in high school like basketball and was also part of the track and field team. He wound up winning state championship in the 110-meter hurdles and long jump his senior year. Kalan Reed improved every year at the collegiate level and during his senior season, he wound up breaking a Southern Miss record for passes broken up with 19.

Kalan Reed has a ton of experience in different coverage's whether it be zone, off or on man, or playing bail; he's got experience that's for sure. He's also played all over the field whether it be on the outside on the left or right side or playing in the slot.

What jumped out to me watching Reed is that he doesn't open his hips too early, he stays square in his coverage. Reed also, if you can't tell from the 19 passes broken up, is really good looking back and tracking the football -  but not just that; he also took 2 interceptions to the house this season. Reed also is a really quick twitched CB with fluid hips that can mirror any WR in coverage and he also shows quick feet as he's able to quickly react and break on plays in front of him  (not to mention his speed to stay with faster WR's like Amari Cooper). Speaking of Cooper, whenever those two matched up his junior year, he did an admirable job trying to contain Amari Cooper. Reed also fills out one of the most important requirements for being a CB (besides being able to cover obviously); he's not just a willing tackler, he's an efficient tackler and it showed throughout his film.

Some of his weaknesses were a little hard to see. I did notice that Kalan Reed on occasion will underestimate the speed of the receiver he's covering sometimes and he winds up flipping his hips a little late. Kalan Reed has the occasional missed tackles, but overall his tackling is trending more in the right direction than it being considered a weakness. I mentioned him playing a variety of coverages, but the one I didn't see enough of was press and when he did press, it didn't seem to affect the receiver much.

Overall though, I didn't really see a guy with a ton of flaws that were concerning. He can misjudge the receiver's speed but that's correctable. His ability to press I questioned a little bit though as he didn't really affect the receiver but that shouldn't be something he should be asked to do early on. He wasn't a liability as a tackler and is sound in his technique in coverage. I was really surprised just how much polish this guy had. I guess going up against Mike Thomas in practice made him, along with Thomas, better.

Let's take a closer look at his strengths and weaknesses.

Strengths: Ball skills

This is the part of Kalan Reed's game that really improved this year as he broke up 19 passes and intercepted 4 of them, while also taking two of them in for six. What I've noticed is that Kalan Reed is very aware at looking back for the ball even when he's in tight coverage.

This play for example: watch him at the top of image as he completely mirrors the WR's route.  It was clear that he saw that play on film just the way he's lined up, great route anticipation. Watch him turn his head though at the last moment as the receiver looks back for the ball. While he doesn't pick off anything on this play due to a miscommunication between the QB and WR, if Prescott had actually thrown it to the middle where the route was run, that could've very well been an interception.

This next play is against Amari Cooper.  Forget that the ball was underthrown, first off. At this point it's basically a jump ball and Kalan Reed knows this. He tries to get in as good of position as he can and he is able to get over the top and deflect the pass down. Now this was an underthrown pass so it looks like Reed may have been trailing a little bit with Cooper but we'll get into that later. Still a great play by Reed to not let the receiver take control; the DB has as much right to make a play on the ball as the WR.

Now I know what you're thinking:  "Where are the interceptions?" Well if you really want to see a great interception, look no further than this play against Charlotte. The only thing I'll say about this play is wow! I actually have a friend who's a walk on for the football team at Charlotte and he described it as "Insane!"

Strengths: Quick twitch reaction skills

This is what I like a lot about Kalan Reed. I like CBs who react quickly and break on the football while also being able to tackle the catch. Watch this play as he is in off coverage and reacts as soon as the ball as thrown and he tackles the catch perfectly.

Here is another play against Western Kentucky (I understand this isn't the best angle, but this was the best I could find) where he basically runs the comeback route for the WR himself and he breaks quickly on the football.

Here he is in the Texas State game. Again, as soon as the ball is released he breaks on the play in a hurry and is immediately there at the catch point and actually winds up causing the play to be incomplete (couldn't tell if he got a hand in there).

Strengths: Efficient tackling

This is the part of Kalan Reed's game that shows up a lot throughout his film, whether it be in run support or or tackling the catch, he's efficient. I know this play isn't flashy but when you have a big run bust into the secondary, your CBs better be able to tackle in the open field and he shows the ability on this play.

I like this play here because this is how you're supposed to tackle: wrap up the legs, don't let go and bring your man to the ground. He's not grasping at straws trying to tackle his ankles or letting go, and that's important, because too many times I will watch players sometimes just lay a big hit when it's an easy tackle but they either forget to wrap up or they let go and then they wind up bouncing off the hit.

The circumstances of this next play are a bit different. Watch the angle Reed is coming in at; he's in motion as the football is snapped, he see's the WR open in the flat and at this point he just gave it his all trying to stop him from getting into the end zone. It wasn't proper technique, but in this circumstance, making a regular tackle would most likely not stop the WR from stretching to the goal line. This showed Reed's ability to make a big hit and be aggressive when he has to.

Would he be able to do this against bigger NFL receivers? Maybe not, but he's not devoid of making effort with his tackles that's for sure.

Weaknesses: Underestimating a receiver's speed

This was probably the biggest problem I had with Kalan Reed:  there were plays I saw where he shouldn't have been beaten but he underestimated the speed of the receiver and flipped his hips too late.

Look at this play, just poor assumption of the receiver's speed. It looked like he flipped his hips too late as he tried to press the receiver but wound up losing ground, if he had flipped his hips sooner rather than trying to press the receiver, he would not have put himself in this position. It wasn't completed, but that is NFL separation he's giving up. That's a no no.

Again, remember the play against Amari Cooper.  Even though it was a great demonstration of ball skills, he plays way off Cooper, but still gave up separation somehow on a deep route and if it had been thrown in stride, there's a great chance that Cooper would have gotten a TD. Reed needs to get better at not underestimating the receiver's speed.

Weaknesses: Lack of experience in press coverage

There were many times throughout his tape I noticed a distinct lack of press coverage use by Southern Miss. Normally I didn't see Reed press at the line but, I noticed that he would try to press the receiver within the 5 yard mark.  I often didn't quite understand why as he just put himself in position to get beat, because his contact wasn't affecting the receiver.

Again this is something he can get better at, but at this point, this isn't the type of CB he is; he's better at mirroring the receiver in man and reacting in off coverage because of his quick twitch ability and quick feet. Press coverage at this point is not his thing.


Overall, there is a lot to work with out of the gate with Kalan Reed. His experience playing in a variety of coverages, along with his quick twitch movement skills and athletic ability, gives teams a good amount of options with Reed. You can play him in man coverage, whether it's on or off, and have him mirror the receiver's every movement and feel comfortable about him reacting and anticipating the receiver's routes, while also being able to tackle the catch because of how efficient he is as a tackler. His ball skills give him an advantage as he's always aware of looking back for the football, but not taking a big gamble in coverage. Teams looking for a press CB will not be the type of team that takes a chance on Reed because of his lack of experience in press, but for teams that want a quick twitched player who can break on routes in a hurry, this is your guy.

NFL Comparison: Marcus Trufant

Honestly a lot of times when I make an NFL comparison the player normally jumps straight to my head. With Reed I had a few that came to my mind. One that came to my head was Marcus Trufant in terms of measurables. In fact as I was typing this I saw a PFF scouting report that compared him to Trufant. Their mesurables are unbelievably similar just looking at them:

Height: 5-11

Weight: 199 Lbs.

Arm Length: N/A

40 yard dash: 4.38 seconds
Vertical jump: 39 inches 
Broad jump: 10 feet 7 inches
Bench Press: 11 Reps
3 cone drill: 6.87

Those measurables are like a mirror image of Reed's. Marcus was one quick twitchy player throughout his time in the NFL and was one of the more underrated CB's in the league who also showed great ball skills - especially during the 2007 season, as he intercepted 7 passes that season.

I'd be on the lookout for Kalan Reed come draft day; he's really a better player than he's given credit for - and I'm not the only one who believes this, as more people are starting to chatter about him. The buzz is real on Kalan Reed and teams had a ton of scouts on hand to watch him, including the Steelers. What round will he go in is hard to say, but based off what I've seen from him and how he compares to the other CB's in his class, he's a day 1 type of talent, but due to his level of competition and some of his flaws I would expect him to only go as high as the 2nd day, possibly falling into early day 3. He has the potential to make a big impact in the league and make a team very happy that they took a chance on him.

Pro day video: