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Haason Reddick came from unknown, to best linebacker in the 2017 NFL Draft

The Arizona Cardinals first round pick was barely a blip on the draft radar, until the Senior Bowl.

NCAA Football: Senior Bowl John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Seriously, can anyone tell me that they had heard of Haason Reddick before the 2016 season? No? That's because at the halfway point of the 2015 season, he was becoming a fixture of the pass-rush. That's what you would expect, right?

From Bob McGinn of Packers News (all quotes throughout the article are from McGinn):

Twelve months ago it’s entirely possible not a single general manager in the NFL knew anything substantial about Haason Reddick of Temple.

It all changed when Haason Reddick played Notre Dame, and he exposed more weaknesses for another prospect. The Temple grad was somewhat of an unknown before then, but after that, he becomes a mid-tier guy for the upcoming draft (2017, now). If not for that fateful day against Notre Dame, he probably remains a third-day pick, but he shows his dominance for Temple, and for the NFL personnel.

Fast forward, Haason Reddick is officially thought to be a third round draft choice due to his resume: Willing tackler, still needs to develop at a specific position. Then, Haason Reddick receives an invitation from the Senior Bowl commitee, and many believe he can maintain his position in the upcoming draft.

“You didn’t know if he could play off the ball after playing DE in Temple’s scheme,” an NFC executive said. “He answered it. He’s got everything you want. Speed, motor, doesn’t stay blocked, can drop.”

We continue on the grounds of "he can morph into whatever you want in the current NFL", and that translates well to the Senior Bowl. He plays fearlessly, which suits him better than what many presume the top pick who declined an invitation to the Senior Bowl because of injury concerns (Reuben Foster). That's okay, Haason Reddick puts on a show at the Senior Bowl practices, showing he can track the ball in coverage, and being able to rush from the outside. That alone puts his name on the map for a 'late first rounder' by many scouts.

The combine is no different, he puts up very impressive numbers, running a 4.52 at the combine, and right then, scouts start to realize he could be an inside pressure presence, or he could add weight and rush from the outside. It starts to all come together, and he becomes possible top-10 selection.

“Reddick is a rare athlete,” one scout said. “He’ll be really good. Could go mid-first round.”

What have we learned? It doesn't matter who is projected where in the beginning of the season, it's all about how you finish. Solomon Thomas might not be a top-5 selection if not for a few major plays at the Hyundai Sun Bowl. I never heard of Solomon before November, even then, I thought he was probably a late day-1 player.

I only mention this because maybe by the time the 2018 draft starts, guys like Sam Darnold of USC, Josh Rosen of UCLA, or Josh Allen of Wyoming might not even be 1st round guys. What if it's a young player no ones heard of? Demry Croft of Minnesota? I don't know, just don't bank on a player who might fall off this year. In any case, go Cards!