Heaps: Why D.J. Reed is key for how Seahawks’ defense progresses

Feb 22, 2021, 9:10 AM

Seahawks CB D.J. Reed...

D.J. Reed made a big impact for the Seahawks at outside CB in 2020. (Getty)


The Seahawks’ defense had a rollercoaster 2020, starting the year as one of the worst defenses in the league before playing like one of the NFL’s best over the second half of the season.

A looming DK Metcalf extension impacts Hawks’ offseason approach

Whether the defense looks like it did the first half of the season or the second half remains to be seen, and there’s a chance that the defense when it comes to talent gets worse this offseason due to impending free agents.

But one player who will be back in the fold is cornerback D.J. Reed, who was perhaps the Seahawks’ most surprising impact player in 2020. Former NFL quarterback Jake Heaps of 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jake and Stacy said that Reed, more than any member of Seattle’s defense next year, is the key to that unit progressing in 2021.

“He was a big reason why that defense really started to come into its own and you had somebody that was there to complement Shaquill Griffin,” Heaps said. “We don’t know if Shaquill Griffin is going to be back or not. Most likely not, so that means there’s a lot more pressure on D.J. Reed to step up and continue to play and improve the way that he did (over) the second half of the season.”

Griffin, 26 in July, was a third-round pick in 2017 and is a one-time Pro Bowler. He is hitting free agency for the first time and he will likely fetch a large salary on the open market.

Reed, 24, just finished his first season with the Seahawks and appeared in 10 games, recording two interceptions, seven pass deflections, two fumble recoveries, 62 tackles and two tackles for loss. Seattle got Reed off waivers from the San Francisco 49ers, who drafted Reed in the fifth round in 2018. After playing as a nickel corner, Reed started playing outside cornerback for the Seahawks and started eight games at the position. His presence as an outside cornerback coincided with the Seahawks’ dramatic improvement on defense.

“(He played) confident, had swagger and I think he brings a lot of the same attitude and style of play that they are looking for to play Seahawks-style football,” Heaps said.

Another reason to keep an eye on Reed? He’s not the prototypical Seahawks outside cornerback. Since Pete Carroll and John Schneider took over in 2010, Seattle has focused on playing cornerbacks who are at least 6-feet tall who have 32-inch arms. Reed is 5-foot-9 and his arms are just over 31 inches long.

“He’s undersized, not the typical player they go for on the outside out on the edge,” Heaps said.

Despite not fitting that mold, Heaps is excited about the prospect of Reed being a key member of the Seahawks’ defense to start the 2021 season.

“I think D.J. Reed is going to be a big factor in how good this defense can really be heading into 2021,” he said.

Listen to the segment at this link or in the player below.

Follow Brandon Gustafson on Twitter.

Brock & Salk: The 5 pressing questions about Wilson and Seahawks

Jake and Stacy

Seahawks Drew Lock...

Stacy Rost

Seahawks Practice Snapshot: Good day for QB Drew Lock and offense

Stacy Rost details the latest from Seahawks practice as they're just days away from beginning the preseason against the Steelers on Saturday.

1 year ago

Michael Bumpus Stacy Rost...

SeattleSports.com Staff

New Seattle Sports show: ‘Bump and Stacy’ with Michael Bumpus and Stacy Rost

The next chapter of middays on Seattle Sports begins Monday with the debut of Bump and Stacy, co-hosted by Michael Bumpus and Stacy Rost.

1 year ago

Seahawks Sean Desai...

Brandon Gustafson

What new assistants Desai and Scott revealed about Seahawks’ defense

Jake Heaps breaks down some encouraging comments from new Seahawks defensive assistants Sean Desai and Karl Scott about the defense.

1 year ago

Seahawks Broncos Drew Lock...

Brandon Gustafson

Should Seahawks be OK going into 2022 with Smith or Lock at QB?

Are the Seahawks really comfortable with Geno Smith or Drew Lock as the starter? Jake Heaps thinks that isn't "an ideal situation."

1 year ago

Jake Heaps Stacy Rost...

SeattleSports.com Staff

Seattle Sports’ Jake Heaps announces departure from Jake & Stacy show

After four years with Seattle Sports, Jake Heaps will be leaving the Jake and Stacy show to enter a new chapter in his career.

1 year ago

Seahawks 49ers Jimmy Garoppolo...

Stacy Rost

3 things Seahawks fans should know about potential Jimmy G trade

The possibility of the Seahawks acquiring quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has picked up steam this week. Stacy Rost examines its viability.

1 year ago

Heaps: Why D.J. Reed is key for how Seahawks’ defense progresses