Sports

Reddick reflects on rise before NFL Draft

Former walk-on defensive lineman and linebacker Haason Reddick will likely be selected in the first round of the NFL Draft on Thursday on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

Haason Reddick was projected as a third-to-fifth-round pick before January’s Senior Bowl.

Reddick, initially reluctant to play off-ball linebacker instead of his usual spot on the edge, asked to play both positions. His nine tackles tied for a game-high.

His projection moved up to the second round or early first round.

After running the fastest 40-yard dash and largest broad jump among defensive linemen at the NFL Combine in late February and early March, Reddick’s draft stock rose again.

He will likely be the Owls’ first first-round pick since Muhammad Wilkerson in 2011 and fourth in program history.

Former University of Notre Dame quarterback DeShone Kizer saw Reddick’s ability in the Fighting Irish’s win on Oct. 31, 2015 in front of a sold-out Lincoln Financial Field crowd. He had 1.5 tackles for loss, including a combined effort to drop Kizer for a loss in the fourth quarter.

“Stud,” Kizer said of Reddick. “Absolute stud. You gotta game plan for him. He was playing at a higher level than what you would expect a Temple football player to play at and we knew we were going to have to go up and do whatever he could to stop him.”

NFL.com draft analyst Mike Mayock’s Wednesday mock draft projects the Baltimore Ravens will select Reddick 16th, which would reunite him with former Temple cornerback Tavon Young. If NFL.com analyst Daniel Jeremiah’s projection from Tuesday is correct and Reddick is selected 10th by the Buffalo Bills, he would face former Temple wide receiver Robby Anderson twice next season.

The Philadelphia Eagles, for whom Reddick rooted growing up in Camden, New Jersey, pick 14th. Reddick met with representatives from 13 to 16 teams, including Eagles linebackers coach Ken Flajole, he said.

“I think that would be great, you know, being a hometown guy, a guy that played in Philadelphia, a guy that’s familiar with The Linc,” Reddick said at an NFL Play60 event at Shriners Hospital for Children at Broad and Venango streets.

“If I’m on the board and Philly calls my name, I think that’s the best-case scenario for the city to get somebody that they already know,” he added.

Reddick joined Temple’s roster as a walk-on. His mother needed to take out a loan for him to have a meal plan. He said his first purchase he’ll make with the money from his NFL contract will be a home for his mother.

Reddick has had a meteoric rise up the draft board. He knows that when he hears his name called in from of the Philadelphia Museum of Art on Thursday, it is a new beginning.

“I don’t want to be the guy that they say, ‘Oh, he got there and he lost that drive, he lost that work ethic,’” Reddick said. “That’s never been me. I don’t know any other way but to work hard.”

Evan Easterling can be reached at evan.easterling@temple.edu or on Twitter @Evan_Easterling. Follow The Temple News @TheTempleNews and @TTN_Sports.

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