The Green Bay Packers have made their first non-punter addition of the offseason by signing former Seattle Seahawks and Kansas City Chiefs interior defensive lineman Jarran Reed. Drafted by the Seahawks in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft — the same draft as Kenny Clark — Reed comes to add depth to a Packers defensive line that needed it. Considering his background and historic production (19 sacks in his last three seasons in Seattle), he is the best defensive tackle to play alongside Clark since Mike Daniels.
Reed’s best season so far was 2018, when he had 50 tackles, 31 pressures, 10.5 sacks, and 12 tackles for loss for Seattle.
“He’s always been one of our better players and a great leader on the team and all of that,” Carroll said after his breakout year, “but to see him improve that much was really something, and so we’re just thrilled about the part that he plays on this team.
“He is a very, very good ballplayer, and I think he is going to continue to get better. There is a big upside.”
However, the following year, Reed got suspended for six games because of a domestic violence allegation. He was not charged, but the NFL decided Reed violated the league’s personal conduct policy. Reed had another good season in 2019, with 6.5 sacks.
Last offseason, Reed signed a one-year prove-it deal with the Kansas City Chiefs. He started the season slowly but improved down the stretch, especially after Chris Jones moved back inside, and Reed was viewed more as a second threat from the interior.
Charles Goldman, Chiefs Wire’s editor, spoke to Zone Coverage about Reed’s time in Kansas City.
“It took him a little bit to get settled in the scheme for Kansas City,” said Goldman. “I would say he started coming into his own a bit around Week 6. He didn’t have a bad year, but I think the Chiefs were hoping to see something closer to what he and Frank Clark managed together in Seattle back in 2018. They didn’t get that.“
What he can do
The Packers waived Kingsley Keke last season because of off-the-field issues, and they haven’t re-signed Tyler Lancaster yet. Therefore, Green Bay had a significant hole to fill, as the decent options on the roster besides Kenny Clark were just Dean Lowry and T.J. Slaton. Reed brings them experience and versatility.
“He played a variety of different spots for Kansas City, from 3-tech to 5-tech,” said Goldman. “They liked to use him on different stunts and twists pretty frequently. I think he’ll probably stick to the interior in the Packers’ scheme, likely playing 3-tech opposite Dean Lowry. He could probably play nose tackle in a pinch too if Kenny Clark were to get injured or something.”
Seattle drafted Reed in the second round because of his reputation as a good run-stuffer in Alabama. However, he developed his ability to rush the passer throughout his NFL career. Last season, Reed got 12 quarterback hits, only one fewer than Clark. No other Packers interior DL has achieved such a high number since Mike Daniels in 2017, and Reed has had four seasons with at least 20 pressures.
Reed’s best moments last season came in the playoffs. Even though he had a below-average 46.7 PFF grade in the regular season, Reed was among the five highest-graded players for the Chiefs in both of their last two postseason games. He was the third-highest-graded player against the Buffalo Bills in the Divisional Round (84.9, behind Melvin Ingram and Patrick Mahomes) and third in the AFC Championship game against the Cincinnati Bengals (82.2, behind Anthony Hitchens and Charvarius Ward).
After trading Davante Adams, it’s clear that wide receiver is the biggest hole on the Packers’ roster, even though offensive line and tight end are also positions of need. By signing Jarran Reed, re-signing De’Vondre Campbell and Rasul Douglas, and extending Preston Smith, the Packers have their defense basically ready to start the season.
Because of that, general manager Brian Gutekunst can invest most of his draft capital in improving the offense – something that has lacked over the last couple of years. While Gutekunst has spent much more draft capital on building the defense, Aaron Rodgers and Matt LaFleur’s system were responsible for making the offense work with less talent. Without Adams, it’s time for the Packers to change this approach. Signing Reed enables Green Bay to do exactly that.