The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Sports

April 14, 2012

NFL Draft waiting game stressful for Pitt's Reed

JOHNSTOWN — Antwuan Reed’s offseason has been nearly as intense as his senior season on the University of Pittsburgh football team.

In some ways, the past few months have been even more pressure-filled and stressful than Reed’s time as a two-year starter at cornerback for the Panthers.

Reed has his sights set on the NFL Draft, which will be held April 26-28 in New York City.

The 5-foot-10 Greater Johnstown High School graduate is considered a prospect to be selected in a later round or perhaps a free agent signee. Reed has done his best to improve his stock by participating in a postseason all-star game, then working out at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis and the Pittsburgh Pro Day.

In between, the All Big East second-team selection has gone through workouts and interviews with multiple pro teams. Scouts and NFL staff have pored over his combine and pro day statistics as well as his medical records.

Now, all Reed can do is wait to see if his name comes up on the big board.

“I’ve been busy the whole time,”

said Reed, who took some time off to watch fellow Johnstown graduate Andres Taylor box for a cruiserweight title shot in Atlantic City, N.J., on Saturday night.

“From the all-star game into the combine into pro day, it’s just a lot of work.

“You’re working, you’re working out, you’re going to practices, talking to teams, interviewing with teams. You’re constantly busy. Now I’m just working out and getting everything together. I’m just trying to stay in shape.”

Reed’s postseason activity began with his selection to a pair of all-star games

– the Players All-Star Classic in Little Rock, Ark., and the Casino Del Sol College All-Star Game in Tucson, Ariz. He participated in the Arkansas game.

He was invited to the NFL Draft Combine Feb. 22-28 in Indianapolis. He ran a 4.6 in the 40-yard dash, a time that was slower than anticipated.

Reed bettered that time during the Pittsburgh Pro Day on March 16. Some scouts  clocked him under 4.5, while others had him at 4.59.

“My body got to rest (prior to the Pittsburgh Pro Day),” Reed said, explaining the improvement.

“It was about resting. There was some extra motivation too.”

NFL.com’s draft report on Reed  labeled him “a tough cornerback” and noted Reed “usually plays the field and is a decent cover man who still needs to develop ball skills.”

The report later said Reed “is reliable not to get beat deep but noted he “turns to run with receivers immediately off the ball” and “likes to employ a quick shuffle and swivel to get into his forward motion where he is much more comfortable and can stay with his man.”

NFL.com said Reed seemed unsure of himself in coverage at times and his technique might make him vulnerable against bigger, talented receivers at the next level.

CBS.com had Reed rated 44th at the cornerback spot and 404th overall on its draft projection as of Tuesday.

The entire process and prognostication can be draining.

The combine and pro day also consisted of numerous drills and interviews.

“It was a great experience,” Reed said. “It was both physical and medical. You’re going in and getting checked by every team’s doctor. They’re asking about all your injuries, even when you were a kid. They’re stretching your body to see if anything is wrong with you and see if you’re all right. That was a draining process but it was a nice experience to be out there in Indy.

“You get interviewed by a lot of teams. It’s crazy because it’s interview after interview after interview.”

Reed was a two-year starter at Pitt. He developed into a solid corner whom opponents often avoided during his senior season. The former Trojan showed vast improvement after initially being a defensive back picked on by opposing quarterbacks early in his career.

In 45 games at Pitt, Reed made 187 tackles and had two interceptions. He started all 13 games last season, including the BBVA Compass Bowl setback to SMU in Birmingham, Ala. Reed was a member of four Pitt bowl teams during his career.

This season, he had 30 tackles and a team-best seven pass break-ups. He recovered three fumbles, returning one 20 yards against Syracuse for a late touchdown that sealed a Pitt win and made the Panthers bowl eligible. Reed also recovered a blocked punt and returned it 10 yards for a score against Utah.

At Johnstown, Reed had 4,276 career rushing yards and 48 touchdowns. He was a two-time Associated Press Class AAA All-State selection and appeared in the Big 33 game in Hershey.

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