Scouting The Draft: Tevin Reese, WR, Baylor

Cooper Neill

A potential late round steal?

Introduction:

First off, I would like to thank John B and the rest of the GGN staff for the opportunity to write for you all.  It is truly an honor to show off some of my "pet cats" and get onto the front page.  My first entry for this series is a potential late round pick who can juice up the offense, the wide receiver out of Baylor, Tevin Reese.

Tevin Reese was a lightly recruited 2 star WR prospect out of Temple High School in Temple, Texas, in 2009.  Reese chose to go to Baylor over Northwestern, Utah, UNLV, and Arizona, which is probably the best choice he’s made in his life to this point.  Little did anyone know at the time that Baylor was on the verge of becoming the WR U of 2K10. 

Behind the brilliance of Art Briles, targeted recruiting, and some great quarterbacking, Baylor is quickly turning itself into a factory at the WR position.  Reese is the next in a line that has produced 1st rounder Kendall Wright, 3rd rounder Terrence Williams, and of course arguably the best WR in football today in Josh Gordon.  While Reese is not as highly touted as those guys, he has the ability to carve out his own spot in the NFL.

Measurables:

Height: 5’10
Weight: 170
Class: RS Senior
Projected 40: 4.31

The Stats:

Screen_shot_2014-02-08_at_5

The Positives:

SPEED- Holy moly this guy is fast.  He’s not run of the mill fast, he’s supremely fast.  Faster than fast.  As my man Gus Johnson once so eloquently described it, he has getting away from the cops speed.  There may be no I in team, but there is an I in TevIn Reese just smoked you.  You want a DB to run with him?  Yeah, good luck.  Basically, he’s fast.

Explosiveness- I fully suspect Tevin Reese to put up a great 40.  He was timed at a 4.31 at Baylor.  According to Baylor’s trainer, this is through use of electronic timing, thus it’s more legit than most campus 40s.  But that might not even be the most impressive number Reese throws up.  Baylor recorded Reese at a 45.5 inch vertical leap and an 11’5 broad jump.  If he equaled those numbers at the Combine, he would be tied for second in recorded Combine history in both numbers, only behind Gerald Sensabaugh in the vertical (who leapt 46 inches) and Jamie Collins in the broad jump (who jumped 11’7).  Impressive explosion.

Taking It To The House: Perhaps no stat is more indicative of his speed and explosion than this: of his 24 career receiving TDs, 21 of them are from 40+ yards away.  Another one was from 38 yards out.  Another was from 25.  Only one career TD from Reese is from less than 20 yards away.  The guy may be a deep ball specialist, but to have 24 TDs in 3 seasons and almost ALL of them are from 25+ yards out is impressive.  Many players don't score 24 TDs in 3 seasons at all.

Ball tracking: Reese shows an uncanny ability to track and adjust to balls in the air, part of what makes him such a prolific downfield target.  But he also does it in traffic, which is what separates a decent deep threat from a great one.

Balance: Reese does a pretty good job keeping his feet when he extends for the football and runs his full speed downfield patterns.  A lot of potential big plays get ruined when guys stumble and trip but he doesn’t do it often.

Stop routes: Because defenses have to respect Reese’s speed, DBs give Reese a significant cushion.  Even though at times Reese still eats and outruns the cushion, it really opens up the short stop routes, the hitches and curls and buttonhooks.  Sometimes Baylor took the easy 8-10 yard completion because the DBs were 10 yards off Reese, and then you have the joy of having to catch Reese in the open field.  Not fun.  It also helps open up the run game.

The Weaknesses:

Hands: Reese does have an issue with the dropsies.  In 2012 Reese had a 13.1% drop rate, which is exceedingly high, and I’m not sure it got much better in 2013.  On his game tapes his biggest problem seems to be running before securing the ball, but also he doesn’t seem to have natural hands.  This could be a major issue but he doesn’t seem to drop the deep ones very often.

Size: The obvious one, Reese is a small dude at 5’10 170.  He’s not going to be a guy who goes across the middle and grabs a tough 3rd down catch while taking a pop from a safety.  If you are looking for that guy, he’s not it.  However, he is similarly sized to DeSean Jackson and Tavon Austin, both of whom were relatively high (or in Austin’s case, very high) picks that have carved/are carving a role out in the NFL.  But don’t expect an all around receiver.

Motor: I didn’t really know how else to word it, because motor sounds really bad.  However, I have noticed that when Reese appears not to be early in the progressions, he sort of dogs his routes.  Too many times I saw him run a half-hearted slant from which you knew right away he wasn’t getting the ball.  If I knew, I’m sure the defense knew.  He also seems hot and cold in terms of effort as a blocker, though I don’t think he’d be very effective there anyway even if he gave 200% as a blocker.  He did throw a nice block on an RG3 run in a 2011 highlight video.

Run power:  Probably not surprising from his size, but the guy doesn’t run through tackles well at all and goes down too easily.  Too many times when watching him he would get tackled short of the sticks where I think a guy with more strength would get there.  A bit of "self-tacklin' Maclin" in him.

Lack of return experience: With later round picks, generally you want as much utility from the player as possible to get some sort of contribution.  Especially a guy of Reese’s speed and explosion, you immediately think "this guy could kill it as a kick and punt returner".  However, he never filled that role at Baylor, with 1 career kick return for 23 yards and 0 career punt returns.  I don’t know if Baylor found him too valuable for returns, if they had someone better, or if he just stunk at it, but I find it curious that a guy who can blaze up the field never was a return guy.

Pro Comparison- Marquise Goodwin, Buffalo
Boom Scenario- DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia

Prospect-wise, I think Marquise Goodwin is an apt comparison.  Goodwin is a little thicker and probably faster, but both were mid-round type deep ball specialists.  The boom/best case scenario is Tevin Reese being another DeSean Jackson.  Tremendous vertical speed, tremendous deep threat, and a guy who backs up the defense yet still gets behind them.  Jackson may not be one of the NFL’s elite #1 WRs, but he is an elite weapon and playmaker, and I believe this is Reese’s ceiling.

Conclusion:

Reese isn’t ever going to develop into a top WR.  He’s small and has a ton of flaws in his game: his hands, his inability to go over the middle, his size, and limited exposure to special teams all drop him to the later rounds of the draft.  But what you get from Reese that you don’t get from maybe anyone else in this class are those incredible jets.  Speed kills and not only that, he’s a 4.3 guy who is somehow deceptively fast.  He can get from 0-60 incredibly fast and then throttle it back down to 0.  He’s not a #1 target.  He’s probably not a #2 target.  He may not even be a #3 target.  But a team with a creative OC and in need of a vertical threat may have a find in Reese.

Would I take him on the Jets?

I think you can tell by now that I’m a big Reese guy, so obviously yes, at a point when it makes sense.  Unfortunately, if he does wind up blazing a sub-4.3 or something like that, with his productivity, there’s a chance he could see a Marquise Goodwin-type rise to the 3rd round, and that’s too high for me.  If he can be had in the 5th round, I would jump on it.  Jets need a guy who can take the top off the defense.  Most thought Hill would be that guy with his 4.36 40 time but for whatever reason, he hasn’t.  I never thought, despite Hill’s very high YPC at GT, that he was necessarily getting over the top of defenses.  Reese, though, blows defenders away.  I don’t know what his official 40 time will be, but on the field he looks like he plays at 4.2 speed.  I would very much like that on the Jets as an ancillary target.


Video:

Here are a few Reese cut ups from draft breakdown.com.  But we want highlights!  Here they are!  Check out the sick wheel route he runs against WVU where he slows down to catch the ball and still smoked the DB so bad the DB doesn't lay a finger on him.


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