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Haason Reddick visits linebacker needy Detroit Lions

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The top-tier linebacker may have priced himself out of the 21st overall pick, but he paid the Lions an official visit.

NCAA Football: Memphis at Temple Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

No player has seen his value rise more during this draft season than Temple’s Haason Reddick. The former pass rusher was considered a day two or three pick prior to the Senior Bowl, but after a stunning performance at linebacker, Reddick came into the combine with significant buzz. His top-tier athleticism was on full display in Indianapolis, and he went from relative unknown to a household name and sincere top consideration in this draft class. As Freep’s Dave Birkett reports, he also visited with the Detroit Lions this month.

At 6-foot-1 1/2 and only 237 pounds, Reddick was considered extremely undersized for a pass rusher coming into the NFL. This is a large part of why he was not considered an early-round pick during the beginning of draft season. His 11’1” broad jump at the combine was a full seven inches better than All Pro linebacker Von Miller’s was in 2011, and Reddick measured better all around for speed as well, with his 4.52 40-yard dash time coming in as one of the best at his position.

With Bob Quinn’s recent comments about speed and athleticism, it’s no surprise he has drawn interest from the Lions. The team was sorely lacking in athletic playmakers on defense in 2016, and after cutting ties with DeAndre Levy the team has done little to restock on defensive speed. Reddick would play linebacker in the NFL, rather than his college position of defensive end, requiring a significant amount of projection by any team making him their first-round pick.

Reddick may have found himself out of the Lions range at 21st overall, as they have not been his only suitor during the draft process. Once not even considered a day one prospect as a pass rusher, he has been mentioned not only in the top fifteen, but in the top ten as we move closer to the draft. If he somehow were to fall to a manageable range for the Lions, he’s a player they would likely consider trading up for. If he makes it to their pick at 21, he’s as close to a certainty as you can get for the Lions to select.