Originally posted on Ravens Football Machine  |  Last updated 7/9/12

I like David Reed (6-0, 190, now in his 3rd year out of Utah)... He is a gifted receiver and return specialist who has the speed to beat a secondary defense vertically. He can break a kickoff or a punt for a TD.  He has the natural instincts of a very good offensive player.

Maybe the only knock on young David Reed in the past was a need to improve his hands in the way he caught the football...but that's a fixable problem. The big issue right now is whether Reed's knee injury and recovery from last season is going to allow him to go all out in TC this summer. If not, expect to see Reed on the PUP list...or possibly released and picked up by another team.

Ryan Mink over at BaltimoreRavens.com had a nice blurb and discussion up over the weekend about Reed.

The Ravens’ third-year wide receiver and return specialist has gone through the wringer with injuries in his short NFL career. A fractured wrist/hand ended his rookie season. A torn anterior cruciate ligament cut last season short. Now Reed says he’s 90 percent recovered from his injury, and is feeling confident that he’ll have a big impact once he’s back on the field, which he says will be at the start of training camp.

“It made me so much better in so many ways,” Reed said. “My legs feel so much stronger. I feel faster. I feel real good, my whole body, from going hard this whole offseason. I’ve never worked this hard in my life. I’m feeling great.”

Reed has been a constant figure at the Under Armour Performance Center throughout the offseason, and still is going through rehab and strengthening his knee as most of his other teammates get a break before training camp. He said he’s running fully and cutting. He says he has full range of motion. “I’m pretty much pain free,” he said. “I’m almost there, man.”

Reed said the entire ordeal has matured him. Becoming a professional in the NFL is a different adjustment for every rookie. It’s harder for some and easier for others.

It's tough not to root for a guy like Reed who's faced so much physical adversity. But the sad reality is, David Reed is a long shot to make the Ravens as a receiver or return specialist  in 2012.  The Ravens signed wide receiver and return specialist Jacoby Jones this offseason. If Jones handles kickoff duties, that takes away the main role Reed played, and excelled in, during his first two years.

The question is also about how many receivers the Ravens will carry. There’s Anquan Boldin, Torrey Smith, Tandon Doss, Jones and LaQuan Williams, who all seem primed to make the roster. Reed’s chief competition may be rookies Tommy Streeter and Deonte Thompson, the latter is also practicing kickoff returns.

If it's a numbers game, Reed is odd man out if his knee isn't ready to go all out.

What makes it even more of a harsh reality is David Reed is really good when he's healthy. You can see a lot of Carolina's Steve Smith in Reed. It's not just Reed broke most of Smith's numbers at Utah, it's more about their style of play.

They play the WR position like return men. Catch and run. Much like Steve Smith, Reed has tremendous balance and he's a tough guy. At 6'0 190, he doesn't go down easily. He's a guy that will go up and attack jump balls at their highest point and he just competes.

Now I know Reed has done nothing statistically as a WR, therefore making it nearly impossible to label him as any type, but from what I saw of him  in college and the limited preseason games, I think he could be a really good WR for any team.

Reed is not yet at 100%, and the team may use that to their advantage as far as stockpiling talent for insurance, and holding on to as much young talent as possible. That would mean placing him on the PUP or IR list...and wait for next year with Reed. If nothing else, the coaching staff has more options with Reed on the roster.  

Jacoby was brought in to take over PR and take a WR position - most likely #3. That means KR is still a wide open competition. That's where Reed belongs if he can prove he's healthy. But it just doesn't look right now like the knee will be ready for the pounding it must take. The prudent thing to do in that case is hold Reed out until 2013...or at the very least, start him out on the PUP list, and see where his physical status is about 4 to 6 weeks into the regular season.

The last thing you want to do is expose Reed to a career-ending re-injury in a futile attempt to make the 2012 opening day roster.

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