D.J. Reed was Kansas State’s only player taken in the 2018 NFL Draft, going to the San Francisco 49ers in the fifth round. But while Reed will have to fight for playing time as a rookie, NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein is high on his prospects, listing him as one of his seven late-round draft picks likely to exceed expectations.
Zierlein is high on Reed’s athleticism and coverage ability, while also expecting him to contribute as a return man:
“Reed is on the shorter side for a cornerback at 5-foot-9 1/8, but he’s well-built and extremely feisty when challenging the catch. He has the talent, confidence and ball skills to compete with K’Waun Williams for slot corner reps. His ability as a punt and kick returner help his chances of exceeding expectations.”
A junior college transfer, Reed showed major potential in his two years at Kansas State. Reed turned himself into an All-Big 12 player with the Wildcats, contributing equally as one of Kansas State’s top defensive backs and as a dangerous returner.
Reed finished 2017 with 47 tackles, four interceptions and a kick return touchdown. Reed will likely contribute as a special teamer as a rookie, but could find some playing time on defense: the 49ers only have three cornerbacks on the roster with significant NFL experience.