Denver Broncos linebacker, Malik Reed made a statement in the Hall of Fame game, charting four tackles and one sack in his first NFL game. An undrafted free agent, Reed is a player fighting for a roster spot. But could he become a playmaker for the Denver Broncos in 2019?
Who is Malik Reed?
Malik Reed is an undrafted free agent out of the University of Nevada. At Nevada, Reed racked up 203 tackles, 38.5 tackles for loss and 22.0 sacks for the Wolfpack. He was one of their most consistent and productive play-makers on defense. Reed also had a knack for creating turnovers as he forced 11 fumbles in his final three years of college. At the college level, he certainly produced.
Malik Reed stands at 6’2, 235lbs. While he may be smaller for a 3-4 outside linebacker, Reed uses his size to his advantage as he has fantastic burst off the line. He utilizes his speed and bend around the edge of the line to create pressure on the quarterback. In today’s NFL, speed and bend are almost essential to create pressure. Denver edge rusher, Von Miller is probably most famous for his insane bend and speed off the edge, becoming one of the best and most productive edge rushers in the game.
Malik Reed isn’t a world beater with his hands and with that many moves in his arsenal, but he has the bend, explosiveness, and double swipe to win at the next level just fine. He’s can be a 3-4 OLB or 4-3 SAM and do great in the NFL.https://t.co/urpXkaJkjj pic.twitter.com/QmNJnfK1Qh
— Nick Farabaugh (@FarabaughFB) April 20, 2019
In the clip above, Reed really shows off his burst, bend, and even his ability to use his hands to get free from the offensive lineman. He uses a two-hand swipe to get the lineman off of him so he can finish his route to the quarterback. This is a tactic Reed often uses, he isn’t a very “handsy” player, but subtlety gets free from lineman in order to create pressures and produce sacks. This is an area where Reed can improve and fine-tune his craft, on his way to becoming a productive NFL edge rusher.
Impact on the Broncos
The Broncos are set at the starting outside linebacker positions with former 1st rd pick Bradley Chubb and star Miller. In training camp and preseason, players will be fighting for roster spots when it comes time to drop the roster to 53 players. Reed is currently hidden behind a few players on the latest depth chart for the Broncos. He is behind Miller, Dekoda Watson, and Jeff Holland at weak-side linebacker, however, none made the impact that Reed did at the NFL Hall of Fame game.
— NFL (@NFL) August 2, 2019
The rookie put his speed on display, beating a tight end around the corner, collecting his first NFL sack. If he can continue this level of play during the preseason, he could play his way onto the 53 man roster. He has some tough competition, but his upside as a speed rusher could convince the Broncos’ staff to stash the Nevada alum as depth on the roster or on the practice squad.
Reed is a player I was very fond of this past draft cycle. His ability to burst off the line and bend are traits that NFL scouts drool over. It will be important for Reed to keep making splash plays in the preseason. If Reed makes the roster, I think he could be a player that Denver could utilize on passing downs as a rotational piece. With great mentors in head coach Vic Fangio, and teammates Chubb and Miller, Reed will only get better as time goes on. Denver fans should be very excited to see #59 whenever he steps on the field.