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    Austin Reed’s Draft Profile | Western Kentucky, QB Scouting Report

    Quality backups are always in demand in the NFL Draft, and Western Kentucky QB Austin Reed is a candidate to fill that description in 2024.

    Could Western Kentucky QB Austin Reed be one of the better value deals in the 2024 NFL Draft with his scouting report? Here’s everything you need to know about Reed, his profile, and how he translates at the NFL level.

    Austin Reed Draft Profile and Measurements

    • Height: 6’2″
    • Weight: 220 pounds
    • Position: Quarterback
    • School: Western Kentucky
    • Current Year: Redshirt Senior

    There’s no other way to say it. Whenever Reed has hit the field, he’s put up massive numbers. At the very least, that has to be a premonition of a promising future at the professional level.

    Reed originally signed with the Southern Illinois Salukis out of high school but transferred to West Florida in 2019. In his first year at West Florida, as a redshirt freshman, he threw for 4,089 yards, 40 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions while leading the Argonauts to a Division II national championship.

    West Florida opted out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19, but when Reed returned in 2021, he continued to produce, amassing 3,375 yards, 38 touchdowns, and nine picks that year. His production ultimately earned the interest of the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers.

    In 2022, Reed transferred to Western Kentucky, filling the void left by Bailey Zappe, who was selected in Round 4 of the 2022 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots. Reed didn’t take long to pick up where Zappe left off in the Hilltoppers’ pass-heavy offense.

    The 2022 season saw Reed complete 389 of 603 attempts (64.5%) for 4,746 yards, 40 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions. In 2023, he added 3,340 yards, 31 touchdowns, and 11 more interceptions.

    MORE: 2024 NFL Draft Top Quarterback Prospects

    Reed’s penchant for production earned him a spot on the 2024 East-West Shrine Bowl roster. Can he use that opportunity to solidify his stock in the 2024 NFL Draft?

    Reed’s Scouting Report

    Strengths

    • Sports a prototypical frame, as well as solid arm strength and velocity generation.
    • Velocity carries well enough into the intermediate and deep thirds, driving past DBs.
    • Has a degree of arm elasticity, which he can use to adjust release angles.
    • Arm elasticity allows him to distribute on rollouts and scramble drills under pressure.
    • Able to layer velocity into deep boundary passes while placing where his WRs can reach.
    • Not an adept creator, but at least has functional linear mobility and knows how to use it.
    • Sound rotational thrower who consistently channels torque from his hips to his arm.
    • Level shoulders and a quick release in-structure allow him to distribute at a high level.
    • Knows how to use his eyes to mislead LBs off the snap and open the middle of the field.
    • Able to throw with anticipation up middle-of-field seams and stay on schedule.
    • Able to anticipate breaks on comebacks and hitch routes, allowing WRs time and space.
    • Excels at leading short-range receivers upfield or away from contact for RAC.
    • Has the poise and composure to keep his eyes up while stepping into the pocket.
    • Able to navigate through narrow pocket lanes and extend opportunities for himself.
    • Capable game manager who also shows a willingness to take risks on 1-on-1 matchups.

    Weaknesses

    • Arm strength and elasticity, while good, fall well short of the elite mark.
    • Despite functional mobility, is not an overwhelming creative threat on the lateral plane.
    • At times, can be more disciplined with his dropback depth and avoid fading too much.
    • Footwork can be lackadaisical on rhythm throws and screens at times, causing volatility.
    • Premature plants of front foot can tug front shoulder high and cause overthrows.
    • Wasted motion at the top of his drop can misalign his front foot and impact precision.
    • Sometimes dips his front shoulder too low on quick rotations, missing passes low.
    • Can improve situational precision on slot fades, sometimes failing to hit back shoulder.
    • Pressure can cause frenetic lower-body mechanics when fading away from the line.
    • Quick interior pressure can interrupt his process and cause him to drop his eyes early.
    • At times, can be more proactive taking advantage of single-high with pre-snap reads.
    • Will sometimes attempt to force throws into tight coverage as reps draw on longer.

    Current Draft Projection and Summary

    Reed grades out as a late-round or potential PFA prospect in the 2024 NFL Draft. He’s not exceptional in any area, but as a well-rounded prospect with enough physical talent and operational utility, he’d be a solid pick late on Day 3 as a prospective backup.

    All Reed did, from the start of his collegiate career to the end, was produce, and that production was the culmination of his output-conducive traits in the pocket. At Western Kentucky, those traits were only magnified, and they helped him end his career on a high.

    At 6’2″ and 220 pounds, Reed has a little bit of everything on the operational side. He’s a solid pocket navigator, he’s a capable distributor with RAC-friendly placement, and he has the necessary velocity, anticipation, and risk propensity to rifle the ball into tight intermediate windows or trigger on 1-on-1 opportunities downfield.

    While Reed has functional mobility, he’s only an average athlete and creator, and there are still areas in which he can improve. He can be a bit frantic under pressure, and aberrations in his lower-body mechanics can cause fluctuations in situational precision.

    MORE: Free NFL Mock Draft Simulator With Trades

    But already, Reed is a relatively well-rounded QB prospect with good baseline arm talent, and that blend of traits can help him earn a place as a QB3 early on and supplement a ceiling as a solid NFL backup.

    Draft with your friends today! PFN’s Mock Draft Simulator now supports multiple drafters during the same draft! Ensure your player rankings are up to date on the 2024 NFL Draft Big Board and you know what every NFL team needs before drafting.

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