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On the Draft Board: New Mexico’s Jerrick Reed II

An all-conference safety is on Kansas City’s radar for the upcoming NFL Draft.

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UTEP v New Mexico Photo by Sam Wasson/Getty Images

With over a month to go before the 2023 NFL Draft, we’ve learned about another prospect in which the Kansas City Chiefs have expressed official interest: New Mexico safety Jerrick Reed II. The Draft Network’s Justin Melo reported that the Chiefs are having Reed in for a top-30 visit.

What is a top-30 visit?

Though the term implies that the visits are for the most coveted draft prospects, NFL teams are simply allowed a total of 30 in-person visits with draft prospects at their facilities.

The Chiefs have often preferred to use these visits for prospects who are likely to be available on Day 3 or as undrafted free agents — over whom they have more control in selecting than the draft’s top players. Cornerbacks Joshua Williams and Jaylen Watson — who helped the Chiefs win a Super Bowl as rookies — had top-30 visits in Kansas City before the 2022 Draft.

Let’s find out why Kansas City might be interested in Reed.


A Mississippi native, Reed played a season at Northwest Mississippi Community College before transferring to New Mexico for his final four collegiate seasons. Over that time, he totaled 266 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, seven interceptions, 21 passes defended and two forced fumbles. In 2020, his four interceptions led to first-team All-Mountain West honors.

At the College Gridiron Showcase Pro Day, Reed was measured 5 feet 9 and 196 pounds with 31-inch arms. He stood out with his testing numbers, running a 4.46-second 40-yard dash — which would have ranked third among safeties at the NFL Combine. He also hit 38 inches on the vertical leap and 10 feet 2 on the broad jump.

Film evaluation

Throughout his time in New Mexico, Reed played all over the secondary — but when needed, he was the team’s primary slot defender. Even when playing there, the scheme frequently required him to play off and from depth, allowing him to use his talents as a safety.

Those talents start with his quick reactions, which allow him to trigger on ball carriers and fire toward the line of scrimmage like a heat-seeking missile. He has good acceleration from a stationary position — and uses that burst with his slighter frame to sneak around open-field blocks.

In both 2021 and 2022, Reed led the Lobos’ defense in solo tackles and passes defended. His athleticism allowed him to be an impact player at all levels of the field.

In run defense, Reed showed a willingness to use that downhill momentum in attacking lead blockers and ball carriers. This was much more notable, however, in conference games than it was against LSU; PFF marked him with a season-high four missed tackles against the toughest opponent on their schedule.

When Reed was asked to match up individually in coverage, his speed and acceleration allowed him to keep up downfield — but he also showed fluidity when changing direction in his coverage drop. This allows him to come out of breaks quickly and react to a pass thrown elsewhere.

While he can keep up on a downfield throw, his lack of length shows up at the catch point — he’s not able to disrupt the receiver as much as other players could with the same leverage.

In New Mexico, he was rarely used on blitzes — but here, he shows good power in his rush; on engagement, he tosses the running back aside. The slight pressure may have hurried the quarterback into this bad throw.

How he fits with the Chiefs

If Kansas City were to prioritize Reed later in the draft (or as an undrafted free agent), he would first and foremost be a special-teams player; his speed and willingness to tackle should translate well into punt and kick coverage.

On defense, his skills absolutely fit the versatility that Kansas City likes in its safeties; he’s able to cover the back end on one snap and fly up into the box on the next. While he will have to overcome a size disadvantage, there have been plenty of smaller Chiefs safeties who have become impact players.

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