Our next prospect interview is with Nevada Defensive End/ OLB Malik Reed. Reed is a 6’2” 235 pound defensive end who is versatile and quick off the ball.
Career stats: 203 total tackles, 38.5 tackles for a loss, 22 sacks, and 11 forced fumbles in his career.
Reed interviewed exclusively with Stampede Blue to talk about his excellent academic career, his positional change his Senior season, and which players he models his game after most.
ZH: Why did you decide to attend Nevada University?
MR: Well people always ask me, how did I go from Alabama to Reno? One of the coaches who recruited me, Coach Ricky Thomas (former CB coach at Nevada), was originally from Florida but he played at Alabama and my high school coach also played at Alabama too. So they knew each other and had the chance to get me out there for a visit. I got a chance to see the place, see the facilities, and I was looking for something different out of high school. I just felt like this is where God wanted me to be so that is where I ended up going.
ZH: You were named a Team Captain before your Senior season. What did that honor mean to you?
MR: It really meant a lot to know that my teammates thought that much of me. To nominate me as a Team Captain as someone they could look to during workouts, a game, or even a season as someone who will always have their back and work hard every day for them meant a lot.
ZH: So off of the football field, you were named to the All-Academic Mountain West Team multiple times and received a degree in Public Health. Was your school work something that you really prioritized at Nevada?
MR: Yeah definitely. When I came into college, my mindset was to go to med school to be an orthopedic surgeon, so that was something that I was really focused on coming in to college. I made sure to stay on top of my grades, and that was something that my mom and my parents always stayed on top of when I was with them, so when I got away and gained independence, that was still something I took pride in and something I still wanted to do.
ZH: Wow man an orthopedic surgeon, that is pretty incredible. Is that something that you’d like to pursue after your football career?
MR: Yeah, its definitely another option sometime down the road that I plan to look into.
ZH: Back to football, how was your experience at the NFLPA Bowl this offseason?
MR: It was amazing man, just to go out there and compete with some of the best players around the country— guys who had a lot of success in college. I got to go out there and learn all I can and try and soak up as much knowledge as I can from the guys coaching there that either played or coached in the league. Just to be around them and pick their brain and find out certain things needed to be successful was an amazing experience that I really enjoyed.
ZH: You also met with a Colts Scout for over an hour at the NFLPA Bowl. How’d that go?
MR: It was good. The scout that I talked to, we just connected and he was asking questions that I was able to answer open-heartedly and it just seemed like we had a great connection. The questions he asked were very in-depth and he wanted to know more about me and I was able to sit there and tell him everything about who I am and it went very well.
ZH: This past season at Nevada, you made the switch from defensive end to outside linebacker. How was that transition?
MR: It was... like you said, a transition. It was just something different you know. I never really played serious football at linebacker so it was all new to me in the spring when I was learning it but I was open to it because it was something people told me before that I may have to end up doing this to continue playing. So I was open to the idea of making a position change in the spring and it was all new so things were flying by fast but I took it one day at a time and continued to learn all I could, while I was there. Luckily I had a coach who was very experienced and knew the ins and outs of the defense we were running, so I had a chance to make mistakes and learn from them. Each week I could see myself getting better and improving on certain things from spring until the end of the season, and it really felt like night and day. I feel like I did a really good job of taking what they gave me and learning and continually getting better.
ZH: Now after you’ve played both positions, is there one you prefer or feel more confident in?
MR: Whatever they want me to play at. I feel like my strength is being able to get after the QB and putting pressure on the QB but whatever they want me to do, I’ll do it. My strength is as a pass rusher, as someone who can really make an impact. Seeing other facets of my game though and really developing them, I feel like I can be an all around player.
ZH: As a pass rusher, what are your go-to rush moves?
MR: I like using speed, work the edge and dip. Like a speed and dip move. Most of the guys are taller than me so I try to use that to my advantage and use my leverage.
Nevada EDGE Malik Reed is one to keep an eye on during predraft circuit. Natural pass rush ability off edge pic.twitter.com/1dBRsrzMQ7— Mark Dulgerian (@MarkDulgerianOS) January 3, 2019
ZH: What area would you say you have to improve most going forward?
MR: I would just say coverage wise being comfortable there and getting a better understanding of it. That is something that I definitely improved on and something I got better in during the season but just getting more reps in it and getting more comfortable.
ZH: On the flip side, what is your best trait going into the NFL?
MR: My strength is my pass rushing ability. My ability and energy out on the field to be around the football and chase the ball with my energy and effort.
ZH: Which NFL players do you model your game after most?
MR: I like to watch the pass rushers usually like Von Miller, Khalil Mack, I like Joey Bosa, Melvin Ingram and I even like the older guys like Dwight Freeney, Robert Mathis, DeMarcus Ware. I like to watch parts of their games and see how they effect the game and see what they do.
ZH: Smart move dropping the Colts guys for an interview on a Colts site (laughs).
MR: (Laughs) Hey man they are great players though. I mean they are legacy.
ZH: Oh definitely man. If you could sack one QB in the NFL, who would it be?
MR: You know you gotta go for the best so I’d have to say Tom Brady.
ZH: I have asked that question to like 10 different players and all of them have said Tom Brady (laughs).
MR: (Laughs) You gotta go after the best man. During that playoff run they couldn’t lay a finger on him. They only touched him like once. You trying to win the game, you gotta get to Brady (laughs).
ZH: Certainly man. Last question before I let you go here. In this deep class of pass rushers, why should my team draft Malik Reed?
MR: I feel like they should choose me because I’m somebody who will come in ready to work everyday, no matter the situation at home or anything else. Once I get my mind ready to work and settle what I need to do, I’ll do whatever I can to achieve it. I know I still have things to learn coming in so I’m definitely a willing learner. I feel like wherever I go, I can make an impact and that is something I want to do. I don’t just want to make it, I want have an impact wherever I go and have a successful career. I’m thankful for God and how far he has brought me and I know he still has a plan for my life so I’ll continue to follow that and give it my all in everything I do and pursue.