Brooks Reed

Today at The Football Fan Spot, we have Brooks Reed, a defensive end prospect out of Arizona. Reed started 3 seasons as a defensive end at Arizona and was one of the premier pass rushers of the Pac-10. He was a team captain and is known for his non-stop motor. He stood out at The Senior Bowl and is widely regarded as a 2nd round pick lock, thanks to his experience, his motor, and his ability to play both a 3-4 and a 4-3 scheme. He has a bright future ahead of him. Today, he is here to tell us about his game and his Pre-NFL Draft experience. 

The Football Fan Spot: First, a little bit of background stuff, when did you start playing football? Who did were some of your favorite players to watch as a kid? Favorite team to watch? When did you first realize that you had a really good shot at the NFL?

Brooks Reed: I started playing football at about the age of 8 or 9. I grew up watching the desert swarm at the UofA (University of Arizona) with Tedy Bruschi and co. I never watched that much NFL, mostly college on Saturdays. I knew I wanted to play in the NFL when I was young but I never realized my potential until later in college.

TFFS: It’s been roughly 2 or 3 months since the end of your season. In what ways, if any, do you think you’ve improved since the end of the season?

BR: I had a great learning experience at the Senior Bowl. I had a chance to be coached by the Bills D-line coach, and really learned a lot in a short amount of time. It was nice to see how NFL coaches ran practice. The speed and intensity of practice was about what I expected, considering every player was trying to impress scouts and coaches. I also had a great opportunity to work with Barry Gardner, my linebacker position coach. I feel like I have come a long way with his help.

TFFS: Which, if any, NFL teams have met with you up to this point?

BR: I talked to a lot of 3-4 teams looking for a standup linebacker, and a few 4-3 teams looking at me as a D-end.

TFFS: I have always found it very interesting to ask prospects what round they believe they will be drafted in, so, honestly, putting aside where you think you should be drafted, what draft range do you think you will be drafted in?

BR: The lowest I have heard was 2nd-3rd round, but I try not to put too much into mock drafts. I guess I don’t want to get my hopes up.

TFFS: Who do you compare yourself most to in the NFL? Is there anyone you model your game after?

BR: I don’t really compare myself to anyone particularly, but I try to emulate my game after DeMarcus Ware, Dwight Freeney, Clay Matthews.

TFFS: Which NFL players, if any, have been helping you through the draft process?

BR: Earl Mitchell (former teammate of Reed’s at Arizona, a 2010 3rd round pick by the Houston Texans) has helped me through the process, mostly words of wisdom.

TFFS: There is a very serious threat of a lockout in the NFL, how are you prepared to deal with that once you get drafted?

BR: I am prepared to just stay in my home town and train until it’s over.

TFFS: Give me a little bit of a self scouting report, what do you say you could contribute most to an NFL team? What is your biggest weakness or thing you need to work on most?

BR: I would contribute versatility and the ability and desire to play special teams. I would say my biggest weakness is being comfortable dropping into coverage and pattern reading due to the fact that I did very little of that in college, but that is a work in progress.

TFFS: A lot of rookies have to play significant amounts of time on special teams. What is your experience playing on special teams and did you enjoy it?

BR: I was a pure special teams guy in 2007, and just did punt team while I started at D-end for the remaining of my career. I love special teams, especially kickoff coverage. It’s something I take pride in.

TFFS: The general consensus around your Combine performance was that it helped your stock. Were you satisfied with how you performed at The Combine or are there some things you wish you could have done a little better?

BR: I felt pretty satisfied with my 40, but I felt a little disappointed with some of my other timed drills. I felt good about my position drills overall.

TFFS: You got a chance to play in the Senior Bowl. What was that experience like?

BR: The Senior Bowl was a great warm-up for The Combine, as far as interviews and competitive nature. It was cool playing with and against some of the best players in the nation. It really exposed things I need to work on at the next level.

TFFS: Depending on who you ask, you had anywhere from 18 to 21 sacks in college. Did you have a favorite sack, one you remember more than the others?

BR: One of my favorite sacks was against USC in 2008. It was a strip sack, and really was a momentum changer.

TFFS: More and more teams in the NFL are switching to a 3-4 scheme. Both the Packers and the Steelers ran a 3-4, as did teams like the Patriots, the Jets, and the Ravens. How do you think you translate to a 3-4 as a so called “rush” linebacker? Have you played linebacker extensively before? Are you comfortable dropping back into coverage and rushing the passer from a 2 point stance? Is that something you’ve been working on this offseason?

BR: I think I would translate well and I believe I have the athleticism to stand up and rush. I have zone dropped in college before and that was never really a big deal. I think the 3-4 rush linebacker is the best position on the field, but I feel like you have to be the most complete player, pass rush, play run and cover.

TFFS: Something that really stands out to me about your game, and I’m not alone in this, is that your motor never shuts off, ever. That kind of thing is actually pretty rare in the NFL. Has this just been the way you’ve always played or something you’ve had to work at?

BR: It is something that I really worked on in college, or when I made the position change to D-end. I have made a lot of plays with downright hustle, even with little technique. A great motor is essential for a defensive player, it’s all attitude.

TFFS: One final question, if an NFL GM were standing right in front of you and asked you, why should we draft you, what would you say to him?

BR: I am a player that will provide versatility and a player that will give 100 percent effort every play.

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Coby Fleener

Today at The Football Fan Spot, we have Coby Fleener, a tight end prospect out of Stanford. He spent 4 years at Stanford as a tight end, starting for 3 years from 2009-2011. He and Andrew Luck hooked up for a team leading 10 touchdowns in 2011 and 17 touchdowns over the last 2 seasons. His 34 catches for 667 yards in 2011 put him 2nd on the team.

At The Combine, Fleener benched 27 reps of 225 at 6-6 244 and though he did not run because of an ankle injury, he is expected to run in the 4.5s or 4.6s at his Pro Day, which would make him one of the fastest tight ends in this draft class. He’s a borderline first round pick who probably won’t make it out of the first 40 picks. He has a bright future ahead of him. Today, he is here to tell us about his game and his Pre-NFL Draft experience.

The Football Fan Spot: First, a little bit of background stuff, when did you start playing football? Favorite team to watch?

Coby Fleener: I started playing in high school. Growing up in Chicago, I was a fan of the Bears, but I wouldn’t call myself a die-hard.

TFFS: It’s been roughly 2 or 3 months since the end of your season. In what ways, if any, do you think you’ve improved since the end of the season?

CF: I have been trying to get healthy and strong, as I suffered an ankle injury at the end of the year. It has been tough to not be able to train fully with my other teammates trying for the NFL, but my ankle is getting stronger.

TFFS: Which NFL teams have met with you up to this point?

CF: I have met with a lot of NFL teams and nearly all of the tight end coaches. I have only visited one facility thus far.

TFFS: I have always found it very interesting to ask prospects what round they believe they will be drafted in, so, honestly, putting aside where you think you should be drafted, what draft range do you think you will be drafted in?

CF: I don’t know where I will be drafted, but my goal is to be drafted as high as possible.

TFFS: You didn’t get a chance to run or do drills at the Combine, but you have a Pro Day coming up. How have you been preparing for that? How is the ankle healing?

CF: I am still working on my ankle, and trying to make it strong. I’ve been practicing the various drills and running routes in addition to weight room work.

TFFS: Players always seem to get asked at least one weird question at The Combine. What was the weirdest one you were asked and how did you answer?

CF: The weirdest that I can remember is, “When was the last time you did something wrong, knowing it was wrong, and you did it anyway?” I explained the story of me sneaking out of the house in high school. In hindsight, speeding was probably a more recent answer.

TFFS: Give me a little bit of a self scouting report, what do you say you could contribute most to an NFL team? What is your biggest weakness or thing you need to work on most?

CF: I think I can contribute in a variety of ways offensively and on special teams. I think every part of my game could be improved. I’m excited to just solely focus on football.

TFFS: A lot of rookies have to play significant amounts of time on special teams. What is your experience playing on special teams?

CF: I have played a good amount on almost all special teams. Most of my special teams playing was done in my first few years at Stanford, but I played KOR every year during my college career.

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