Haason Reddick is easily the most talked about player from the most recent Arizona Cardinals draft class, and for good reason. He was the team's first round pick and is full of potential. With that potential also comes a few question marks. He will be transitioning to a linebacker that plays in the middle of the field while also playing some of the role he is used to in rushing the passer. It figures to be a steep learning curve for Reddick, but he still seems ready to take on a big role in 2017. Let's take a look at his future both near and distant.
Games Played: 16
Reddick is going to play, and whether that is in key defensive situations or on special teams, he is going to have an impact. Deone Bucannon and Karlos Dansby figure to take up most of the time at inside linebacker, but given the versatility that Reddick possesses, he will be on the field in nickel situations as a guy that can cover or rush the passer.
Stat Line: 3 sacks, 55 tackles, 1 forced fumble, 1 interception
Role: 3rd down nickel pass rusher (Reddick, Chandler Jones and Markus Golden? Yes please) that occasionally drops into coverage. Special teams stalwart.
Long-term outlook: Excellent
Karlos Dansby is aging and will probably only be in Arizona for 2017 (until he comes back for his fourth stint in 2035). The Cards will want to get Reddick on the field sooner than later and giving him just one year to learn behind a professional like Dansby makes a lot of sense. Reddick's elite athleticism and speed will allow him to always be a high tackle guy that chases down plays. Once he learns more of the nuances of the various coverage and blitz schemes the Cardinals defense employs, look out. He already knows how to be effective in space and is a willing tackler. In the long term, Reddick will be a guy that can do it all, cover in man coverage, play in a zone defense and rush the passer.
The Cardinals drafted Reddick in the first round for a reason: they see star potential. It may take time to nurture him, but the raw talent he has coupled with the chip on his shoulder from being a walk-on at Temple should produce a very effective linebacker for many years to come.