Jayden Reed, WR, Michigan State | NFL Draft Scouting Report

After standing out at the Senior Bowl, Michigan State WR Jayden Reed's 2023 NFL Draft scouting report is once again piquing interest. What's his NFL projection?

A Senior Bowl standout, Michigan State WR Jayden Reed has made a re-emergence as one of the 2023 NFL Draft‘s top wideouts. Where does Reed land with his scouting report, and can he maintain a role as a starting wide receiver at the NFL level?

Jayden Reed NFL Draft Profile

  • Position: Wide Receiver
  • School: Michigan State
  • Current Year: Redshirt Senior
  • Height/Weight: 5’10 3/4″, 191 pounds
  • Length: 30 1/2″
  • Wingspan: 72 7/8″
  • Hand: 9 1/4″

“Reliable” is probably one of the first words that comes to mind when you think of Reed. He’s not the largest receiver in stature, and he didn’t dominate statistically at the collegiate level. He’s a well-rounded pass-catching threat, but Reed quietly has that dynamic element as well.

It’s something he showed often in high school, averaging 20 yards per catch in a 1,179-yard, 18-touchdown senior season. And it’s something he showed as a true freshman at Western Michigan, amassing 56 catches for 797 yards and eight scores in 2018.

As you might expect, Reed’s explosive freshman season put him on the radar for Power Five schools. He ended up transferring to Michigan State and suited up for the green and white after sitting out the 2019 season due to transfer rules.

It took a year for Reed to truly gear up in the Spartans’ offense. But he announced himself to the Big Ten with voracity in 2021, racking up 59 catches for 1,026 yards and 10 touchdowns, as well as an additional score on the ground. 2022 wasn’t quite as productive, but amidst injuries and inconsistencies on offense, he still managed a line of 55-636-5.

Reed will always want that 2022 season back. But most people forgot about his dip in production after he routed up defenders during the first two days of the Senior Bowl. Reed might be a case of “better pro than college player.” His traits, after all, are very translatable.

Jayden Reed Scouting Report

Strengths

  • Explosive athlete with easy accelerative capacity and legitimate 4.4 speed downfield.
  • Hyper-energetic mover in short areas with torrid foot speed and superb lateral twitch.
  • Surges through lateral movements and can offset defensive backs with ease.
  • Electric route runner with snappy hip flexibility and a deliberate attention to detail.
  • Smart separator with great zone awareness and leveraging identification skills in space.
  • Can accelerate into stems, bend through breaks, and bait DBs with brutal head fakes.
  • Laser-focused receiver with elite catching instincts, body control, and ball tracking.
  • Has the hand-eye coordination to convert on high-difficulty chances outside his frame.
  • Able to step through arm tackles and pry through press with calculated arm swipes.
  • Very willing and tenacious blocker who can engage defenders with sturdy technique.

Areas for Improvement

  • Frame size is slightly below average, and middling catch radius hurts against longer DBs.
  • Frame puts him at risk of being outmuscled by larger defenders in contested situations.
  • Can be prone to occasional focus drops, especially when threatened by early contact.
  • Sometimes allows defenders to pry the ball loose before completing the catch process.
  • Sometimes works a bit too far upfield on releases and can be more efficient laterally.
  • Lacks elite contact balance and can be halted in his tracks by direct contact.
  • Occasionally drifts past optimal blocking angles and plays himself out of leverage.
  • Will be a 23-year-old rookie, whose production dipped in 2022.

Michigan State WR Jayden Reed Current Draft Projection

Reed grades out as a top-100 prospect and worthy of a Day 2 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. The excess of depth in the middle-round range at WR makes it hard to discern exactly where Reed will go off the board. But as an athletic, hyper-instinctive receiving threat with separation ability, sure hands, and return experience, he has a very strong résumé.

Looking at Reed’s athletic framework, in particular, he isn’t missing much in his arsenal. At 5’10 3/4″ and 191 pounds, he’s a bit undersized. Yet, at that size, Reed is fast, explosive, fleet-footed, and extremely twitchy on the lateral plane. He also has stellar hip flexibility and suddenness, which he can use to compound separation as a route runner.

Past the physical qualities, Reed uses his traits very efficiently as well. He’s a diabolical route runner at his best, mixing quick releases, lateral twitch, sharp throttle control, hip sink, head fakes, and post-stem acceleration into a potent separation stew. At the catch point, Reed has elite ball-tracking ability and body control. His hands rarely fail him, and his best plays come in the clutch.

MORE: 2023 NFL Draft Big Board

Without notable frame density, Reed lacks the contact balance to be an elite RAC threat. He also lacks an elite physicality element, and there are occasional focus drops to note.

Overall, however, Reed is an extremely complete, well-rounded, and dynamic receiver. To top it off, he can play from the boundary, in the slot, or in motion, and he’s a great blocker as well.

Any way you slice it, Reed has the tools and the refinement to be a steady, versatile starting NFL receiver — with three-level conversion ability and the dynamic athleticism to compete with NFL cornerbacks.

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