The Denver Broncos have viable weapons in their Tight End corps with Joel Dreessen, Jacob Tamme, Virgil Green and Julius Thomas. It would seem that they are set at the position since the team kept all four last year. Yet they recently signed a 6’-6”, 250 lb. College Free Agent out of New Mexico by the name of Lucas Reed. He is the younger brother of Brooks Reed, who plays Linebacker for the Houston Texans.
NFL Draft Scout rated the 24-year old as 16th out of 98 Tight End prospects nationally and 284th overall in the 2013 draft class. He did not receive an invitation to the Scouting Combine, so here are the measurables from his Pro Day:
40 Yard Time – 4.76
20 Yard Split – 2.78
10 Yard Split – 1.61
Bench Press – 25
Vertical Jump – 37”
Broad Jump – 122”
20 Yard Shuttle – 4.17
3-Cone Drill – 6.99
Arm Length – 35.5”
Hand Length – 10.5”
Lucas Reed earned 4 Letters with the Lobos and was a two-time All-American and earned 1st-team All-Mountain West Conference in 2010. He played in 48 games with 34 starts during his college career, catching 77 passes (tied for school record) for 949 yards, a 12.5 average and six Touchdowns.
Lucas graduated Tucson Sabino High School as a prep standout who led all Arizona high school Tight Ends with 41 receptions for 761 yards and seven TDs in 2007. A consensus 1st team all-state pick as a senior, Reed also played Defensive End, was on the wrestling team and competed in the shot put, discus, long jump and 200 meters for the track team.
A Redshirt in 2009, Lucas capped the season by earning 3rd team Freshman All-America honors – the first Lobo Tight End to earn such recognition. He started 8 of his first 12 collegiate games, with 17 catches for 212 yards and a Touchdown – the most by a Lobo TE since 2006 (John Mulchrone – 20). Reed ranked 2nd on the team with an average of 12.5 yards per catch.
Reed played in 11 of 12 games and started seven more games in 2010, emerging as a 1st-team All-MWC and honorable mention All-American with 33 receptions for 459 yards and a team-high 5 Touchdowns, the best numbers by a Lobo Tight End in 23 years. Reed led the team in Receiving with 41.7 yards a game. He had his first 100-yard receiving game against Wyoming on Nov. 6th, a career day with seven catches for 100 yards and two Touchdowns.
During his Junior year (2011), Lucas started all 12 games and finished 3rd on the team in receptions with 22, even though defenses accounted for him far more than they did in 2010. He ended up with 241 receiving yards. Reed’s best stretch came during a 4-game span toward the end of the year when he caught 12 passes combined for 145 yards. He also was a standout on Special Teams with seven Tackles.
Lucas suffered a significant drop-off in production as a senior. He played in 13 games, but caught only five passes for 37 yards (2.8-yard average) and no Touchdowns. However, there was reason for this. He added more than 30 pounds to his frame from the end of his junior season to the beginning of his senior year and unselfishly took on more of a blocking role to accommodate the running game and ball control Offense. Still, he was a John Mackey Award Candidate in 2012. He finished with 23 knockdown blocks in 275 plays in Mountain West games as UNM ranked 5th in the nation in rushing Offense at 301.2 yards per game. Reed had an overall blocking grade of 83 percent or better in seven of UNM’s 8 conference games.
STRENGTHS: Reed definitely looks the part (6-6, 250) with long arms (35 1/4 inches) and big hands (10 1/2 inches) and has some athleticism to run and get open. Has worked to develop as a blocker and pass catcher to round out his game.
WEAKNESSES: Lucas has a tendency to play too upright and stiff in his patterns. The coaching staff at the Shrine Game had to correct him several times on his route-running.
He has intriguing tools, but it’s clear he’s lacking in polish right now.
How he fits in Denver:
Lucas Reed was intriguing enough for the Broncos to bring him to Training Camp. He has shown the ability to be a real receiving weapon and a dangerous red zone-target. Reed showed that he made significant strides in his blocking during his collegiate career and created matchup problems for smaller Defensive Backs as a downfield receiver.
As I stated earlier, Denver has a full complement of capable Tight Ends and although Reed may be there to push Julius Thomas, he could also make the Practice Squad. I think he would have to really impress the coaching staff to supplant Julius Thomas.
Reed will wear #82 for the Broncos after he signed his CFA contract. The team gave him a $3,000 Signing Bonus.
– Kaptain Kirk