From a walk-on cornerback to NFL first-round draft pick, former Temple defensive end Haason Reddick couldn’t have landed in a better spot. The Arizona Cardinals selected the 6-1 1/2, 237-pound Reddick with the thirteenth overall pick in last week’s NFL Draft. Reddick will begin his professional career playing in a defense that values his skill set. His physicality and ability to run will allow Reddick to have an immediate impact on a Cardinals defense in search of some help.
After playing in the NFC Championship game in 2015, Arizona suffered through a 7-8-1 campaign in 2016. A number of injuries, especially along the offensive line, contributed to the Cardinals abysmal season. Heading into the new season, the Cardinals defense, one of the league’s better units annually, loses a safety, a corner, an inside linebacker, and one of the better 3-4 defensive ends in the NFL. The Cardinals’ selection of Reddick, as well as the rest of their 2017 draft class, addresses those losses.
Cardinals defensive coordinator James Bettcher and head coach Bruce Arians favor players like Reddick who can play in space, are able to get after the quarterback, and who can attack the run game. Veteran inside linebacker Karlos Dansby returns and can help to mentor Reddick as he makes the switch from an every down college defensive end to a stand-up NFL inside linebacker. The former All-American Athletic Conference honoree will likely see the field in a number of sub packages with the Cardinals. Given his pass-rushing skills, Reddick would be a perfect fit in a third-down pressure scheme. With his ability to run – Reddick ran 4.52 in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine – he could also serve as a nickel linebacker, playing on the inside or even on the outside in coverage.
Reddick, who only played four games as a high school senior, arrived at Temple as a cornerback. His tenacity and perseverance earned him a role on the Owls defense where Reddick started 29 of 47 games in his Temple career. He proved to NFL scouts that he could play inside linebacker at the Senior Bowl and his combine testing was off the charts. Now, fitting into a defense that will utilize his unique skills is next on the list for Reddick.
Read more about the Unstoppable Haason Reddick in the latest issue of Coach & Player Magazine.