Saturday, January 16, 2021

Cards set to move on from Hassan Reddick

With the Arizona Cardinals declining the fifth-year option on Hassan Reddick’s rookie deal, the 2107 first-round pick looks likely done in the dessert. Drafted with the thirteenth pick, Reddick was a much-hyped edge-rusher in college who never fully translated to play in the NFL.

With 17.5 sacks at Temple, 9.5 in his senior year, Hassan Reddick excelled at the combine and ascended to the number one linebacker spot in the draft, in part due to Rueben Foster’s off-field issues, but mostly due to his athletic ability, heart-warming origin story, and pure grit. Reddick is the kind of kid you root for, and I think most Cardinals fans will still be hoping he can make it good in 2020.

Hassan Reddick has struggled to adapt

A former college walk-on, Hassan Reddick began playing running back and safety. His body-type really isn’t that of an every-down linebacker in the NFL, and while the hype had him playing edge or sliding inside to play linebacker, neither role has seen him shine to this point in his NFL career.

In truth, Reddick has been used in a rather bizarre way in Arizona. Despite excelling as an edge rusher in college, only 23% of his snaps have been pass-rush snaps in the NFL while 42.2% have been coverage snaps. While he was expected to be able to do both at the next level, as his struggles have become apparent, it was bizarre to see him working continually more often in coverage than off the edge.

PFF have graded Reddick as a declining, basically horrible linebacker who was massively exposed in pass coverage in 2019, where he got fully half (347/690) of his snaps. In contrast, Reddick has received good grades for his pass-rushing in the last two seasons.

Reddick has seen his snap counts dwindle the last two seasons, and the signings of linebackers Devon Kennard and De’Vondre Campbell, and the drafting of Isaiah Simmons, will further limit his opportunities. Losing his job last season to Joe Walker, he played over half the snaps in only two games.

Hassan Reddick needs to be used primarily as a pass rusher in 2020 © Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Hassan Reddick needs to be used primarily as a pass rusher in 2020 © Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

With 16 total pressures on 218 pass-rush snaps in his rookie campaign, Reddick has improved in his next two seasons with 18 on 111 snaps in 2018, and 23 on 127 snaps in 2019. While the snap count is so low as to make genuine evaluation difficult, it is clear Reddick’s value comes off the edge.

Unless he sees a considerable uptick in playing time in pass-rushing situations in 2020, it is likely Reddick will continue to struggle and will be on his way to a new team for 2021, where he will probably find himself used more in the role that got him drafted.

For a player with such potential, grit, and a great work ethic it would be a shame to see that potential fulfilled somewhere else. While Hassan Reddick’s performances have clearly not deserved the fifth-year option being picked up, the Cardinals need to at least see in 2020 what kind of player they could have at edge before they let him move on.

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