PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The day after Haason Reddick finished turning heads at the NFL scouting combine, he showed up for more workouts at his school. At 6 a.m.
After all, there was a pro day upcoming, at which he could impress even more people. He’s already considered one of the rising stars of this class, projected by some as a first-round pick.
”That’s something that will never go away, that I will never lose: my work ethic,” the Temple defensive end and likely pro linebacker says. ”It’s like my hard work has been recognized.
”It’s great to see those opinions. It’s great to see that people think so highly of me. I believe that my talent matches what they say.
”But I just try to remain humble and keep working hard. Nothing has changed. I’m still the guy who is going to work as hard as he can to make sure that he’s the best.”
Reddick clearly was the best of nearly four dozen college players – 14 from Temple – who worked out for 40 NFL scouts on Wednesday. His movements in the defensive drills were smooth, quick, decisive. His speed and power were evident from his first steps.
Those drills, conducted by 2000 NFL Coach of the Year Jim Haslett, have value because the movements replicate what defenders do on the field. Although 40-yard dash times get popularized and stressed – for the record, Reddick ran a speedy 4.52 in Indianapolis – their worth is debatable. Most times a defensive player is dashing 40 yards only when he is chasing someone who has the ball.
Yes, pro days don’t always reveal a whole lot because they are conducted in a controlled environment where the athletes are most comfortable. But Haslett, one of the league’s top defensive coaches for decades, was impressed enough to call over Reddick for a lengthy chat once the 22-year-old former walk-on was finished.
”He took the opportunity and look what he’s done with it,” Haslett says. ”As a whole, he’s a young guy with a lot of potential. He has very good speed and moves well.”
But Haslett – and Reddick – both recognize there are questions about where Reddick might line up in the NFL.
”He’s played multiple positions, and versatility helps with teams that are patient and will work with him and give him time to develop,” Haslett says. ”His natural position has yet to be determined.”
Reddick agrees, and says he’d play anywhere he’s asked to in the NFL. But at 6-foot-1, 237 pounds, he almost certainly will start out as an outside linebacker.
”Outside linebacker in a 3-4 system is most natural to me,” Reddick says. ”Because of the type of player I am, how fast I can learn the game, I know that if I’m put at inside linebacker I can be the best at that as well.”
Now that the combine and pro day are behind him, Reddick will have personal workouts for NFL teams. He wouldn’t say which teams have reached out to him, citing a confidentiality agreement with them. He did say there were ”many teams” that have contacted him to come to their facilities.
He’s getting a kick out of the entire process. At this point, it can become cumbersome and tiresome for a player. Reddick, who is from Camden, New Jersey, looks back at how far he’s come and simply smiles when asked if he’d like to get all of this over with and have the draft arrive sooner.
”I came so far. I came literally from the bottom,” Reddick says. ”Two injuries in high school to walk-on and being overlooked, and finally getting my chance to play football again. Now, being able to go play in the NFL is just amazing.”
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