Jayden Reed - WR - Michigan State
Jayden Reed started his career off at Western Michigan where he was the leading receiver as a true freshman. But he transferred to Michigan State before the new transfer portal rules and was forced to sit out a full season. After five years of college, he made a name for himself and was selected in the second round of the NFL Draft. But there’s no longer an MVP quarterback in Green Bay, so can Reed still be fantasy relevant with the Packers?
Height: 5′ 11′”
Weight: 187 lbs
40-yard dash: 4.45s
3-cone drill: DNP
20-yard shuttle: 4.29s
Vertical Jump: 39.5″
Broad Jump: 10-9
Bench Press: DNP
*age is at the start of player’s rookie year
Reed was a three-star prospect coming out of college and attended Western Michigan as a true freshman. He led his team in receiving, notably over fellow Western Michigan standout, D’Wayne Eskridge. He transferred to Michigan State in 2019 but had to sit out the entire season due to the previous transfer rules. He had a mildly productive redshirt sophomore season as he went for 407 yards and 3 touchdowns, second in both categories on the team thanks to a low passing volume offense (only 1,600 total passing yards in a shortened 2020 season). In 2012, the passing offense took a leap forward and Reed benefited greatly from it. He went for his first 1,000-yard season, adding on 10 touchdowns, leading the team in both categories.
Following his second-team All-Big Ten selection, he followed that up with another second-team All-Big Ten season. That being said, he took a slight step back as the entire offense took a step back as well. Michigan no longer had Kenneth Walker to sell the play-action passing game and Michigan State quarterback, Payton Thorne, threw for 2,600 yards following his 3,000 passing-yard season in 2021. Additionally, the development of Keon Coleman at wide receiver impacted Reed as Coleman outperformed him during the season.
Jayden Reed has a knack for making plays on the ball with soft hands and a “my ball” mentality. Downfield, he shows good ball tracking and nice extension to make plays up and over defenders. Additionally, he provides the versatility to play on the outside, in the slot, and even provide value as a returner. He tied the league lead for two punt return touchdowns last season.
As a route runner, he makes his bread with his acceleration within his routes to create separation. In yards after the catch situations, he’s fairly average, generally getting what’s blocked in front of him. But he has a sturdy base that will allow him to occasionally break tackles and create plus yardage.
While he shows soft hands as a natural hands catcher, there were some concentration drops, specifically over the middle. Additionally, there were some tougher catches on tape that would have been a large boost to his profile if he snagged a few more of those. He has room to grow as a route runner, lacking consistent nuance, and tends to lack explosiveness on his breaks to create separation consistently. Finally, as a blocker, he struggles heavily to get in front of defenders to put up any sort of effort to stave them off.
Post Draft Analysis
Carolina Panthers – Round 2, Pick 19
The Green Bay Packers lost their MVP, Super Bowl winning quarterback, and now have a highly thought of young quarterback who is far from proven. So, what do they do? They load up with weapons to make Jordan Love’s life easier. In the middle rounds, the Packers selected both Luke Musgrave and Jayden Reed in the second round and then Tucker Kraft in the third round. There are a lot of mouths to feed in this offense and all of them are young and ready to continue to develop. That’s a good problem to have for Jordan Love but makes things tricky to sort out for fantasy managers.
There isn’t a bonafide WR1 on this team… yet. The most likely candidate looks to be Christian Watson, the team’s second-round selection from last year. But none of Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs, Samori Toure, Tucker Kraft, Luke Musgrave, or even Jayden Reed have proven anything and only provide their potential to go off of. But all these mouths to feed is an uphill battle for Jayden Reed to fight through. Luckily for him, he provides a lot of versatility and is putting that to use as reports out of camp are that he is working primarily out of the slot.
It’s unlikely that Reed is the top target in this offense that will be led by first-time starter, Jordan Love. Doubs and Watson both have a leg up on him as they played last year and showed flashes of very good wide receiver play. Not to mention he’ll be fighting for targets with fellow Day 2 selections in Tucker Kraft and Luke Musgrave. It’s hard to envision Reed being productive enough to pay much attention to him in Redraft formats. But in Dynasty, he is a decent dart throw late in the second round or early in the third. He tends to go earlier than that (probably thanks to his draft capital), but if he starts to fall, fantasy managers can capitalize on the value.