Former Virginia wide receiver Joe Reed took the field in Indianapolis, Ind. last week for the 2020 NFL Combine, performing on-field workouts in front of, perhaps, the most important audience of his life.
Reed was outstanding throughout his Virginia career, but truly exploded in his senior season — particularly shining on kick returns. In 2019, the Charlotte Court House, Va. native led the nation with a 33.2 yard kick return average and became the only player in FBS history with a career kick return average of over 28 yards and over 2,700 career kick return yards.
Reed is also one of only 10 players in FBS history with over 3,000 career kick return yards, posting 3,042 during his four years at Virginia.
For his kick-returning prowess, Reed garnered numerous accolades, winning the Jet Award as the most outstanding return specialist in college football his senior season, while also being named a first-team All-American and first-team All-ACC athlete.
However, Reed also brings skills beyond kick returning to the NFL, having led Virginia in receptions — which totaled 76 as a wide receiver in 2019 — along with 679 receiving yards and seven receiving touchdowns.
As such, Reed’s growth throughout his time in Charlottesville and the versatility he has shown in the 2019 season led him to receive an invite to the NFL Combine. The Combine is a week-long event held in February each year that gives select college football players the opportunity to showcase their skills to NFL executives, coaches and scouts. During the Combine, players undergo various physical and mental tests in the hope of impressing NFL teams and increasing their chances of being selected in the NFL Draft in late April.
Reed was one of only 337 invited players nationwide, alongside two other former Virginia standouts — cornerback Bryce Hall and linebacker Jordan Mack — who were unable to participate in workouts due to injuries.
Reed participated in four different workouts on the field — the 40-yard dash, bench press, vertical jump and broad jump.
The 40-yard dash is the most talked about event at the combine, as NFL players are expected to be fast and agile, especially at the receiver and returner positions. Reed ran an official 4.47 second 40-yard dash, faster than over half of the players at his position and 0.03 seconds faster than the average at last year’s Combine.
Reed completed 21 reps of 225 pounds in the bench press workout, placing him in the top three of all players in his position who competed. The bench press focuses on the strength of an athlete, and Reed’s performance should show NFL teams that he can provide a unique combination of strength and speed at the receiver position.
The jump workouts are centered on power and explosiveness. Reed reached 38 inches in the vertical jump and 123 inches in the broad jump — both of these around the average for his position.
Nonetheless, Reed’s combine results should put him on notice as a strong mid- to late-round selection in the draft. His combination of speed, endurance and strength proves to scouts that he can be more than just a special teams player and can serve as a multi-faceted offensive weapon.
Now, Reed just hopes to hear his name called in the upcoming 2020 NFL Draft, which runs April 23 to April 25.