The Seattle Seahawks have a history of having a strong defensive identity. The Legion of Boom set high standards for the Seahawks defense from 2011 to 2015, where they were a top defense in the league during that timespan. In the post-LOB era, Seahawks defenders are trying to replicate the same success.
One current player that has seen his fair share of defensive highlights is cornerback D.J. Reed Jr.
Reed, 25, has been with the Seahawks since 2020 after being drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in 2018. He was picked up off waivers in 2020 who was waived by the 49ers after suffering a torn pectoral muscle.
He had a successful 2020 season and is building off of it during the 2021 season. Pro Football Focus graded Reed out at 75.2 for the 2020 season and with one game left in the 2021 season, he also has a 75.2.
He had his best game of the season against the Detroit Lions on January 2, where he received a 92.2 grade from PFF. Reed recorded eight tackles, one pass broken up, and two interceptions.
Reed went on to talk about his impressive game and the highlights of his season on 710 ESPN’s show “Wyman & Bob” on January 11, the Tuesday after the game.
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Interceptions are the Ultimate Prize
During the podcast, Reed was asked about interceptions and ending up with the ball as a cornerback.
“You work so hard during the week so you want to reap the benefits of your work,” Reed tells Wyman & Bob. “For me, that’s one of the best feelings. Obviously getting the pick is dope, scoring is better, but I’m happy with the pick.”
In his NFL career, this was the first time that Reed recorded two interceptions in one game. These picks were actually his first two of the season.
“In college, I had two picks on Pat(rick) Mahomes actually, but one got called back, so I only ended up with one pick-six actually”. Reed mentioned on the podcast. Reed played for the Kansas State Wildcats for two years from 2016 to 2017.
The Misleading Nature of a Cornerback’s Interception Numbers
Stats don’t tell the whole story, especially in a technical game like football. Reed reiterates that some stats can be misleading when it comes to how well a cornerback plays every given week.
“The thing about interceptions is tricky, because a guy can have a lot of interceptions, and a guy can get scored on a lot. It’s kind of like, okay, you have a gambling corner that has eight or nine picks, but he got scored on nine times.”
“Obviously fans see interceptions and they think, ‘Oh he’s a good corner.’ Vice versa, you can have a guy that has no picks and he’s shutting down a whole side of the field…fans and even coaches want turnovers, but if a guy is being consistent in not giving up a lot of yards, that’s efficiency too.”
Reed highlighted the opportunities that cornerbacks receive on any given game and compared them to targets he received in two different weeks.
“This week, I was surprised because I got a lot of targets, [Lions QB Tim Boyle] targeted me nine times in coverage. That was surprising because I don’t get targeted like that, and obviously, I had the two picks,” Reed mentioned to Wyman & Bob.
“When we played Washington, I was coming to that game hyped because I had a big game against them last year, so I thought… they were going to target me. I had literally one target that game.”
“It’s a form of respect, but it does get boring because you do want to get targeted to make more plays. It is what it is, it means you’re doing your job…I feel like the special corners don’t get targeted that much.”
Reed becomes a free agent following the Seahawks contest against the Arizona Cardinals on January 9th, 2022. He may command a significant pay raise after his strong end to the season and consistency over the past two seasons.