With the 2014 NFL Draft only a few months away, we reached out to some of the draft prospects we believe the Green Bay Packers could target in May. Yesterday we heard from UCLA’s Cassius Marsh, and today, we hear from another PAC-12 standout, Stanford safety Ed Reynolds.
Reynolds was a two-year starter as a free safety in the Cardinals secondary, earning All-PAC 12 and All-American honors. Reynolds had a breakout season in 2012 with six interceptions, including three pick-sixes, and added another solid season in 2013, finishing third on his team in tackles with 88.
The North Carolina native not only can roam the field and make plays, but Reynolds is also a savvy player who excels in coverage. At 6-foot-2 and 206 pounds, Reynolds pairs tremendous size with his natural ability and knack for forcing turnovers.
As an early entry, Reynolds is one of the more intriguing safety prospects in this year’s draft. Many draft analysts, like Rob Rang from NFL Draft Scout, project Reynolds as a day-two pick come May, but as a former running back and having only three years of experience as a defensive back, Reynolds still has plenty of untapped potential as a safety at the next level.
This upside could make the former Stanford Cardinal an enticing prospect for a team like the Packers looking to address the safety position in the draft. Reynolds’ ability to both drop back in coverage and play up in the box against the run could make him a good fit in Green Bay’s defense.
To learn more about Reynolds, I reached out to him and here is what he had to say about his game and possibly playing in Green Bay.
Q. First, tell us a little bit about yourself. Where did you grow up, and what led you to play for Stanford?
ER: I was born in Greensboro, NC, but I have lived all up and down the East coast. I have had stints in Boston, New Jersey, Virginia, and Florida. I went to high school in Virginia at Woodberry Forest which is a boarding school.
Coach Shaw at the time was the running backs coach and was recruiting that area. He visited and told me about Stanford and their interest in me. I honestly did not know much about Stanford besides the play. I took a visit out there the summer leading into my senior year and fell in love with the campus and just the environment with the players that were already there.
I could get an amazing degree while playing elite style football in the PAC 12. It was a no brainer for me once I got accepted.
Q. Why did you choose to play the safety position?
ER: In high school, I played both running back and safety. Most schools that were recruiting me saw me playing safety in college. I ran with it and it was a great decision for me. Safety is the best position in football.
Q. With the college season over, what do the next two months look like for you leading up to the draft? Any specific things you’ll be doing to get ready for it?
ER: For me I am training down at Ultimate Sports Institute with Terry Kirby. Training to make sure I can run the fastest 40 possible and test well overall in all the drills at pro day. At the same time I am just making sure my body is healthy and functioning at a high level, so I work with a nutrionist and chiropractor named Dr. Mellman in Davie, Florida.
Q. It’s my understanding your father (Ed Reynolds Sr.) played in the NFL for a number of years in the 80s and early 90s. What have you learned from him about being a professional?
ER: Yeah, he played the majority of his career with the New England Patriots then ended with the New York Giants for a couple of seasons. He’s been great to talk to throughout my entire football career. He’s taught me to just never stop working and get better as a player and make sure I take care of my body because it is my profession.
Q. Has he given you any advice on how to handle this whole draft process?
ER: I think the most important advice from him about the draft process is to not let it overwhelm you. You have to enjoy every moment because it only happens once for you.
Q. Many draft analysts have you rated as one of the top safeties in this year’s class. In your opinion, what are the strengths of your game, and what makes you special at the position?
ER: I would say my football IQ and instincts while I am out there on the field. I read quarterbacks well to anticipate their throws and have good hands to go get the ball out of the air. I also think my tackling in space is a major strength. I was third on the team in tackles this year with 88 total and 56 solo.
Q. Is there a part of your game you’d like to work on improving heading into the NFL?
ER: I think I can improve all aspects of my game because as a player you cannot become complacent otherwise you won’t have a job for long.
Q. The Packers may be looking for a safety in this year’s draft. How would you feel about playing in Green Bay?
ER: The Green Bay Packer organization has such a storied history and tradition. To play for them and call Lambeau Field home would be an amazing honor. I know that Green Bay has one of the best fanbases in the NFL and it has been that way for a very long time.
Q. Is there a player or team you watched growing up that inspired you to play football? Are there any players in the NFL you study or try to model your game after?
ER: For me growing up, I played running back and safety. I was definitely a more natural running back and I idolized Eric Dickerson. He is actually the reason I still wear #29 to this day. His combination of size and speed is crazy to watch on film. At the safety position, I am a huge fan of Jack Tatum, Sean Taylor, and Ed Reed. When I watch the NFL today, I really respect Earl Thomas and Eric Berry’s style of play. They are young guys making an impact for their teams, and if the Packers drafted me that is exactly what I would pursue from day one.
Q. When you’re away from football, what do you like to do in your free time? Any favorite hobbies?
ER: Away from football, I just like to hangout with family. I am the oldest of four boys, so growing up there was never a dull moment in the house. Family is everything to me, so spending time with them is special.
Career college stats
2013 – 86 tackles, TFL, 4 PBUs, and an INT
2012 – 47 tackles, 5 PBUs, 6 INTs, and 3 INTs returned for TDs
Film on Ed Reynolds
Ed Reynolds Highlights
Ed Reynolds against UCLA (2012): 4 tackles and an interception
Ed Reynolds against Michigan State (2013): 10 tackles
Watch more film on Ed Reynolds and other draft prospects at draftbreakdown.com.