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Film Room: Chris Ballard finds a gem in Guard Chris Reed

Chris Reed looks to be excellent depth for the Colts in 2021

NFL: DEC 27 Panthers at Washington Football Team Photo by Lee Coleman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Indianapolis Colts have once again bolstered their offensive line depth, this time by signing guard Chris Reed to a one-year, veteran minimum contract. Reed is a five-year veteran in the league after going undrafted in the 2015 NFL Draft. A lesser known fact about him is that while he was playing left tackle for Minnesota State in college, he was also a Champion in the shot put event in track and field. He was inducted into the Division II Track and Field Hall of Fame for his achievements in shot put.

On the field though, I came away very impressed with what I saw out of Reed and I think this was an outstanding signing by Chris Ballard.


Elite Athleticism

I almost knew right away, before even watching any film, that Reed would be a great athlete. Chris Ballard strictly brings in top athletes on his interior offensive line and Reed certainly fits that bill. He is an excellent run blocker, especially when he is able to pull out in space. He lines up players well in the open field and his athleticism allows him to reach players that most guards simply can’t. A lot of what the Colts do in the run game is predicated on this so Reed should fit in nicely.

This is the only single clip video in this piece but it just highlights the athleticism he has. It is so hard to cut off a shade technique defensive tackle as the backside guard. He does get some help from the tackle slanting down but this is just another clip to showcase how insane of an athlete he is and how he is able to make difficult blocks look easy as a result.


Nuance and Power

On top of being a great athlete, Reed also has some power in his game (obviously if he was a Champion at shot put in college). While he may not be a Quenton Nelson-level physical freak, he does have plenty of reps on film where he is simply moving players at will. It usually comes on plays when he can get on the move and kick players out, which is something that is common in the Colts’ run scheme.

Another thing to note is the subtle nuances in his game. He loves the snatch/trap technique, which essentially uses a defender’s leverage against them by swatting the defender’s hands. He also loves to use a violent club-like move on play action stretch runs and screens. This isn’t necessarily vital to being a good lineman but these are little things that he has worked into his craft.


Good Foundation in Pass Pro

Now, some struggles do appear in pass protection for him. He seems to have the Mark Glowinski issue where he is perfectly fine against any defensive tackle who isn’t above average or great. Once he faces a stout interior player, the issues arise. I do like his technique and the base of his play in pass protection though. He has great grip strength at the point of attack and if he is able to latch on early in the play, he usually wins his rep. In the Colts’ scheme that wants their lineman to jump defenders and aggressively set, Reed is a perfect fit.


Just Please Stay Away from Grady Jarrett

Grady Jarrett had his way with Reed in their two match-ups last season. While it is perfectly understandable why somebody would struggle with an elite defender like Jarrett, it is still worth noting. Reed does struggle with top guys but then again, who doesn’t?


Final Thoughts

I honestly had no clue who Chris Reed was entering today. I had never heard of him and he wasn’t on my radar whatsoever. When I noticed that the Colts signed him to a veteran minimum contract, I fully expected him to be another camp body. On film, however, I see a totally different player.

He is a superb athlete with good strength and a good foundation in pass protection. I think that if Mark Glowinski were to go down at all this year with an injury, Reed could step in and not miss a beat in this offense. He is a great depth piece that I think will be valuable for the Colts this year.

I have been critical at times of the moves this offseason but I love this addition by Chris Ballard. He acquired a veteran guard who could, potentially, become the starter next year when Mark Glowinski ultimately departs in free agency. I love this signing for depth on the interior of the offensive line.