A case can be made that no player in this NFL draft has benefited more from the process that follows the college football season than Haason Reddick.
With stellar showings at the Senior Bowl and combine, the Temple linebacker has gone from a possible first-round pick to a potential top-10 selection. Less than a week before the draft, Reddick still is meeting with interested teams.
By the time the former walk-on shows up for the first round of the draft in Philadelphia on Thursday, he will have met with about half the teams in the NFL, including eight visits to team facilities.
”I’ve been all over, man,” Reddick said this week.
The team visits have all been similarly structured.
”You meet everybody basically. You meet all the personnel guys, you meet scouts. You meet the coaching staff, head coach, GM, president,” he said.
The differences have come when meeting with position coaches.
”Are you working on an install of their defense and they want to see how you recall? Or are you going to watch film and they want to just show you the things they like about your playing style?” Reddick said.
When the season ended, Reddick was an intriguing prospect at 6-foot-1, 230 pounds, but one that lacked an obvious NFL position. A week at the Senior Bowl playing inside linebacker got lots of attention and then he showed off his athleticism at the combine.
Now instead of being seen as a `tweener who lacks a position, teams are looking at Reddick as a versatile talent who can fill many roles.
”For the majority, and basically every team that I’ve talked to, they want to use every skill set that I have,” he said. ”So they’re talking about off-ball backer on first and second down and on third down, on passing situations, it’s having me rush, whether it’s blitzing or lining up on the edge and pass rushing.”
Reddick’s emergence might be surprising to some, but not to him.
”Not saying that someone was trying to keep me a secret. But the fact that I was at Temple, a school that’s starting to come up on the rise, not too many guys were looking our way,” he said. ”What happened was after the senior bowl they went and said, `Hold on. who is this guy?”’
They all know now. And while Reddick has been all over preparing for the draft, including Exos training facility in Phoenix, the draft is coming to Reddick – sort of.
He grew up in Camden, New Jersey, just a quick trip over the Benjamin Franklin Bridge away from Philadelphia, and before becoming an unexpected star at Temple in the City of Brotherly Love.
Reddick said accepting an offer to attend the draft with his mother, father and other family members was a ”no-brainer.”
”To play in Philadelphia, to play at Temple, and then for the draft to be right there I feel like God is creating a beautiful story,” Reddick said.
His story is already pretty incredible. Injuries in high school left Reddick with no scholarship offers. He walked on at Temple as a defensive back. He was a starter as a junior before he was on scholarship. Last season, playing defensive end for the Owls he led the nation in tackles for loss.
Now he has people working on what suit he’ll wear to the draft.
”Not too flashy,” Reddick said.
Reddick grew up an Eagles fan because of his dad’s influence, but of course that has changed.
”I’m just concerned about where will I be calling home the next couple years,” Reddick said. ”Now I’m a fan of all 32 teams.”
Follow Ralph D. Russo at www.Twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP