Nobody pays much attention to the players who get picked in the later rounds of the NFL draft. These are the guys expected to be backups or perhaps start on special teams. It’s unlikely that someone drafted in the fifth or sixth round will turn out to be a star.
Who to Look For
D.J. Reed was drafted in the fifth round at number 142 in the overall draft. He’s a bit small for a corner back, only 5’9” but his skills and athleticism make up for this fact. In the NFL combine he ranked 9th in vertical leap and ran the 40 yard dash in 4.51 seconds.
Reed is not only athletic but incredibly driven. He did not have an easy path to the NFL. He started his college career at Fresno State but then transferred to community college before ending up playing for Kansas where he performed very well.
In his junior year at Kansas he defended 19 passes, made three interceptions, and caused 16 pass breakups. That year he was also named Defensive Newcomer of the Year.
Reed is a double threat as he not only plays corner back but also returns kicks. In his last four games at Kansas he averaged 28.3 yards per return. He also returned one punt for a touchdown and one kickoff as well.
Perhaps Reed was undervalued for his size or maybe he really doesn’t have what it takes to make it in the NFL. But his college stats and the fact that he persisted through three different college programs to make it to the professional level speak to the contrary. Don’t be surprised if the name D.J. Reed gets thrown around more and more in the coming years.
In the sixth round at number 179, the New York Jets selected cornerback Perry Nickerson. Like D.J. Reed, who went to the 49ers, Nickerson is a bit undersized. This is most likely why he was picked so late in the draft. Also like Reed, he is very athletic and quick. He clocked an impressive 40-yard dash time of 4.32.
Experts say that Nickerson is likely to play slot corner for the Jets. If starting slot corner Brett Skrine proves to be less than perfect or gets injured the team would be happy to start Nickerson.
He may be on the smaller side but anyone who has watched his college game tapes knows that he has incredible instincts and can come out of nowhere to make amazing plays.
Many in the sports world are saying that Nickerson is a late round steal for the Jets and could prove to be a great player for the team as early as 2019. So don’t write him off as a backup just yet. He has the athleticism and skills to be the real deal and plenty of time to prove himself.
Let’s See What Happens
We keep coming back time and again to watch our favorite players, teams, and sports. We never get tired of watching sports because we never know what is going to happen. We can predict some things like the that the New England Patriots will no doubt have a better season than the Cleveland Browns. But no one can say for sure.
And when it comes to individual players it’s hard to say who will do what. First round draft picks often turn out to be stars but not always. Sometimes the experts are wrong. D.J. Reed and Perry Nickerson might just be the exceptions. They might be low round picks but these guys have the chance to make some real noise in the NFL. And if they do, we’ll all be glued to our screens watching it all unfold.