Editor’s Note: The Associated Press will be following linebacker/defensive end Haason Reddick’s preparations for the NFL draft over the next several weeks. This is one in a series of occasional stories, videos and other updates tracking his progress. Reddick talks about the draft process and the best lineman he has faced at Temple University. With AP Photos.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — For some NFL prospects, the arrival of spring coincides with the dog days of the process that leads to the draft. Let’s get to Philadelphia already, is what many are thinking.
Haason Reddick has exactly opposite feelings. Maybe it’s because he went to school in Philly, at Temple. Or that he’s from Camden, New Jersey, just across the river.
Or just maybe the college defensive end who projects as a pro linebacker simply is enjoying everything about the lead-up to April 27.
Why wouldn’t he, considering his strong performances at the scouting combine and then on his pro day seem to have catapulted him into first-round consideration.
“Soaking it all in,” Reddick says. “I never ask myself if there’s something else I’d rather be doing.
“It’s been great fun. It’s a long journey and the process is very long. You don’t get to sleep a lot. But what’s there is an opportunity that I want to make the most of.”
Reddick certainly seems to be impressing on all levels. Yes, he could be a “tweener,” a guy who doesn’t exactly fit at a specific position because of his size, in this case 6-foot-1, 237 pounds. But most evaluations have him ascending rapidly, with several now projecting the 22-year-old Reddick to be grabbed on opening night as a first-rounder.
He’s contemplating nothing specific, and instead wants to embrace the entire experience. Just the fact that the NFL’s spring traveling road show will land in Philadelphia is a big deal for Reddick.
“The draft being in Philly is so special, especially this year, to see where I could possibly land, to know where my round projection is, is so awesome,” he says. “To be drafted at home, in the city where I played football for four years, to be 15 minutes from where I was born and raised, is just amazing — to get my name called here.”
Reddick isn’t only hoping to hear his name, but those of several Temple teammates. At pro day, 14 of them worked.
One of them in particular stands out: Owls tackle Dion Dawkins, who many pro scouts see moving to guard in the pros.
Reddick and Dawkins were a dynamic duo at practices, and they’ve had each other’s backs while meeting with NFL personnel.
“A lot of teams ask who is the toughest or who is the best guy that you went against, and I always say Deon,” Reddick says. “Me and Dion in practice we line up and go against each other every day, in 9-on-7s, in team periods, every day just trying to make each other better every day. And they thought it was rehearsed, saying, ‘OK, you two are looking out for each other.’ But it wasn’t that we were looking out for each other. We were telling the truth.
“He is what I would say the best offensive lineman on our team last year, and I like to go up against Dion because he is so physical, you know he is so athletic, going up against him every day I know there aren’t many out there like him. So if I am going up against him, I am going to be prepared every day.”
Preparation is something Reddick mastered long ago. He was injured in high school and had to walk on at Temple, meaning he needed to have an edge on just about everyone to merely get noticed. He turned heads almost immediately, and the Owls progressed under coach Matt Rhule, who is now at Baylor.
Current Temple coach Geoff Collins noted that one of the first things he discovered when replacing Rhule was how dedicated Reddick is.
“It’s the way he approaches the game,” Collins says. “I’ve been blessed to coach a lot of great players on defense (at Florida), and the first thing you see is Haason popping up on tape all over the place. The day after he just dominated the combine, he’s in here working at 6 a.m.
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