Senior defensive lineman Caraun Reid was the fifth round’s 18th pick in the National Football League draft on Saturday. Reid will join the Detroit Lions as the 158th overall pick. He recorded 20 sacks and 36.5 total tackles for loss in his last three years at Princeton, making him the program’s first two-time All-America honoree in 20 years. Reid became the second Princeton player in two years whose decision to play an extra medical redshirt season was rewarded with an NFL Draft spot, after former teammate Mike Catapano ’13 was dealt to the Kansas City Chiefs last spring.
The defensive stalwart became the 14th player in Princeton history to earn an NFL Draft selection and was just the second of those players to be drafted within the first five rounds. In the NFL’s modern era — since the league’s 1970 merger with the AFL – he is the only Tiger to be drafted this high.
In the Motor City, Reid will join arguably the best defensive lineman in professional football: three-time Pro Bowler and 2010 NFL Alumni Defensive Lineman of the Year Ndamukong Suh. The aggressive style of play that Suh and the rest of Detroit’s D-Line execute offers a perfect fit for Reid, according to his agent Mike McCartney.
“It’s a great spot for him,’’ he said. “I’m thrilled. I wanted him to go to a team where the defensive line gets upfield. That’s his game. And that’s exactly what the Lions do. This will play right to his strengths.’’
After the draft, Reid echoed his agent’s sentiments.
“[I’m] so grateful to join a great organization, learn from a great coach and great player and compete to be the best player I can be,” he said.
In a video circulating on Facebook, Reid can be seen answering a phone call from the Lions’ management in which he calmly extends his gratitude. Reid maintains his usual reserved, collected demeanor until his living room fills with relatives’ screams, applause and chants of “Detroit, Detroit!” Reid cracks a smile and slowly exits the room, explaining over the line, “Sorry. My family’s buggin’ out right now.”
While Reid told The Daily Princetonian he was not surprised to receive the call, the experience was unforgettable nonetheless.
“I knew I was gonna get drafted, but the moment was everything,” he said. “Possibly the greatest feeling in my life.”
ESPN commentators commended the “speed” and “slipperiness” of Reid’s interior pass rushing moves as they played clips of him racking up sacks against Dartmouth and Columbia. The analysts also applauded Reid’s well-roundedness as a student, explicitly citing his involvement with Princeton Faith and Action as well as Old Nassoul.
ESPN analyst Bill Polian, who served as the president and general manager of the Indianapolis Colts and was responsible for drafting Peyton Manning, graduated from the same all-boys Catholic high school as Reid. Polian was covering the draft live on ESPN when Reid’s name was announced, at which point he donned a hat from their alma mater and offered his personal congratulations with a round of applause.
“Caraun Reid is from Mount Saint Michael Academy in the Bronx, New York. I’m a proud alumnus. Way to go Caraun!”