During his fifth and final year at Princeton, senior captain and defensive lineman Caraun Reid didn’t have too much time to watch television – he was busy winning an Ivy League championship, training for his NFL Pro Day, completing his sociology degree, leading Bible study discussions, singing a cappella with Old Nassoul and playing guitar and drums for his jazz band. This Friday though, Reid and his family will be glued to the TV screen in their Bronx home – not to catch up on all the Homeland episodes he missed this fall, but to watch his future unfold.
Rounds two and three of the NFL draft will air on ESPN at 7 p.m. EST, where Reid hopes his hard work will culminate in a job offer. The first Princeton player to earn back-to-back All-America accolades in 20 years, Reid turned the heads of pro scouts with his 26-tackle, 6.5-sack season and impressive subsequent showing at the Senior Bowl. He has been projected to be drafted as high as the third round by some experts, which would place him four rounds ahead of last year’s Tiger-turned-pro defensive lineman Mike Catapano.
CBSsports.com currently has Reid ranked as the 92nd overall player and 10th defensive lineman, placing him in the third round of their mock draft. The network’s Rob Rang raves over Reid’s thick frame, low center and quick first step, adding that his arms are plenty long enough for a defensive lineman who wants to succeed at the next level. Rang feels that most of the concerns about Reid’s ability to compete against higher-caliber players outside the Ivy League have been put to rest by his two-sack performance at the Senior Bowl.
“Generally speaking, NFL scouts view Ivy League schools like museums – somewhere to visit to appreciate the culture, but not a place one expects to find something they can take home to add to their own collection,” he wrote. “With Reid, however, it isn’t a question of if he’ll be selected in the 2014 draft but when, especially after an impressive performance during the Senior Bowl which silenced critics who suggested that the two-time All-American built his production off inferior competition.”
Rang speculated that Reid’s reliance on his quick burst might make him a more valuable fit in a 4-3 scheme than in a 3-4, and that he has the potential to immediately earn a spot in an NFL team’s interior lineman rotation.
ESPN.com, which ranks Reid even higher as this year’s eighth-most draftable defensive linemen, reports that the Chicago Bears have taken a vested interest in the three-time first team All-Ivy selection’s pass-rushing skills. ESPN’s draft-day guru Mel Kiper predicted Reid would be selected during Chicago’s third-round pick. CBSsports.com places the Bears alongside the Tampa Bay Bucaneers and Dallas Cowboys as the three teams most interested in acquiring Reid.
Reid, who won the College Sports Journal’s FCS Defensive Player of the Year award for his performance this season, said that he is excited for the draft but will remain focused on making the 53-man roster once selected.
“This has been a dream of mine since I was a little kid … a drive that I’ve had ever since I was allowed to start lifting weights,” he said. “[Being drafted] will be a big moment and just another step in the process of being great.”
If Reid is not taken in the third round, he will likely be selected on Saturday, when rounds four through seven will be televised at noon EST. Reid fans can tune in to ESPN or the NFL Network to see the draft, or can watch online at NFL.com/Live.