It has not been an easy offseason so far for the Kansas City Chiefs. They did turn their fortunes in acquiring talent on Sunday night, though. Former Seattle Seahawks defensive tackle Jarran Reed is coming to Kansas City on a one year deal. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the contract is worth up to $7 million, with $5 million guaranteed. In many ways, this is a steal for the Chiefs, considering this could help boost their defensive line considerably.
How does Reed fit into the Chiefs’ defensive system? What can fans expect to see from a schematic standpoint? Plus, how will this signing impact Kansas City’s plans for the rest of free agency or the 2021 NFL Draft? Let’s attempt to answer all of those questions below.
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Jarran Reed was a part of the Alabama National Championship team in his senior season. However, he actually began his college football career at East Mississippi Community College. Spending two seasons there in 2012 and 2013, Reed totaled 100 tackles, including 10.5 tackles for loss. East Mississippi Community College also won the NJCAA national championship in 2013.
His impact was felt immediately after transferring and joining the Crimson Tide. In 2014, Reed totaled 55 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, five pass deflections and one sack. He played in all 14 games and made 13 starts in that junior season. To cap it all off, the defender started all 15 games in his senior season at Alabama. The production was roughly the same, where Reed totaled 57 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, two pass deflections, one fumble recovery and one sack. He got that national title win of course, too.
Top 50 Pick
The Seattle Seahawks drafted Jarran Reed with the 49th overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. In fact, Pete Carroll‘s team liked him so much, that they traded two picks and moved up seven spots to nab him. Touting excellent size (6’3”, 306 pounds), Reed combined quickness and awareness to see the field early on. He played in 30 games with 21 starts across his first two seasons. The production was fair, as Reed totaled 79 tackles, 12 quarterback hits, five tackles for loss, four pass deflections, three sacks and one fumble recovery across 2016 and 2017.
Meanwhile, it was Reed’s 2018 season where he broke out. He was flashing off the screen and the production was consistent. He was getting home, by seemingly firing out of a cannon on every snap. Second effort allowed him to get many stops. Yet, his initial pass rush counter moves also paid dividends. Reed finished the year with 10.5 sacks, a thrilling number for a defensive tackle. He also finished with career highs in total tackles (50), quarterback hits (24), tackles for loss (12) and fumble recoveries (two).
You can watch some of Reed’s top plays from 2018 here.
Back To Earth
Seattle did not have Reed in the fold, until midway through the year in 2019. A suspension for a violation of the league’s personal conduct policy kept him out for the first six games. Though, Reed was not charged or arrested after a police investigation. His production was similar to that of his first two seasons with the Seahawks. Due to personnel changes made before the season, Reed’s role was also slightly altered on the inside of the defensive line for much of the campaign.
Bittersweet Ending In Pacific Northwest
Before the 2020 season began, Seattle kept the defender locked up and under their control by signing him to a two year extension for $23 million. And it was arguably his second best season of his NFL career so far. Reed totaled 38 tackles, 14 quarterback hits, 6.5 sacks, five tackles for loss and one pass deflection and forced fumble apiece. He recorded multiple sacks in some of Seattle’s more crucial games of the season. This included a road trip to Buffalo against Josh Allen and a late season home divisional game against Jared Goff.
Despite the fairly productive year for Reed, the team released him just a few days ago. The Seahawks wanted to restructure his contract and could not come to an agreement. And according to Nate Taylor of The Athletic, Kansas City beat out seven other NFL teams hoping to land Reed’s services.
As far as Reed’s skillset and traits go, he can easily help impact both the run and pass defense. On run defense, you love to see how he extends his arms and uses his length to dictate the pace he wants to play at. Reed does well to get his eyes up quick. As a result, he is aware of where the football or ball carrier is heading. Kansas City will also greatly benefit from his gap control. With already having someone that can do that in Chris Jones, the Chiefs might be able to see positive results more often against the run. They have ranked in the bottom half of the league in that category for a handful of years now. Best of all, Reed rarely gets driven back off the line of scrimmage and has the length to reach opponents from difficult angles or in short areas.
On the other hand, Reed has the physical aspects in his toolbox that Steve Spagnuolo has generally leaned towards. It all starts with his heavy hands and the power he generates at the point of attack. The aforementioned quickness he brings does not resonate initially. Rather, Reed wins pass rush reps by using his power and being technically sound. It may look like a second gear that he is finding. But, the defender is actually feeling and waiting for the right chance to turn on the after burners. The Chiefs will not have to worry about his pass rush moves, as he has plenty with which to work with. Club, rip and swim moves are just a few that he is highly skilled at. The bottom line is, if Kansas City needs Jarran Reed to collapse the pocket, there will not be any problems.
Plans Along The Defensive Line
Where this could benefit the Chiefs in a big way, is how this signing helps not only a new player in Reed, but also a high priced defender in Frank Clark. Clark has had spurts of success in the regular season. And his playoff results speak for themselves. Nonetheless, he is entering a make or break season, in terms of production meeting the contract. His best career season was the same year that Reed had his best year in Seattle. In 2018, the duo combined for 23.5 sacks by themselves for the Seahawks defense. Playing next to each other again could do wonders for both players and the team overall.
Add in the aforementioned Jones, who is arguably the team’s best defensive player, and things could get exciting. Louis Riddick of ESPN mentioned that we could see more of Jones playing the defensive end position with this move. I would not doubt it, as Spagnuolo is always looking to use switched up looks to surprise opposing offenses. Jones has played defensive end occasionally, and the results have been mixed. He has not really had a big opportunity or chance to prepare at the spot as well. Even if he does not play outside and stays inside with Reed, the Chiefs could have one of the best defensive tackle duos in the league. The team not only adds a third option at the pass rush. But, the addition of Jarran Reed also likely takes away the amount of double teams that Jones and Clark have continually faced the last couple of years. Look for the team to play with multiple options that they are now allotted.
How Does This Impact Draft Plans?
To answer this question, it has little to no effect on what Kansas City still needs to add to the defensive line overall. You have your top three pass rushers in Jones, Clark and Reed. Tershawn Wharton surprised (in a good way) as an UDFA last year. His quickness and processing is thrilling. Then, you have depth pieces in Taco Charlton and Mike Danna. That is not a horrible group, as there are certainly worse units across the NFL. Yet, the hole at the other starting defensive end spot is quite obvious.
We know the team is still reportedly in the running for former Chargers pass rusher Melvin Ingram. He currently remains unsigned, as of this writing.
General manager Brett Veach and his staff should be willing to address defensive end early. Come April’s draft and depending how the board falls, I would not be opposed to adding somebody from the EDGE class in Round One. Again, depending how the board falls is a major key. If not there, one would expect the Chiefs to add a pass rusher somewhere on day two of the draft, despite adding a dominant player like Jarran Reed.
Be on the lookout for more FPC Chiefs articles throughout this week. For more great sports and NFL content, stay tuned to Full Press Coverage.
– Braden Holecek is the Kansas City Chiefs managing editor for Full Press Coverage. He covers the NFL. Like and follow on Follow @ebearcat9//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js Follow @FPC_Chiefs//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js and Facebook.