In his Tuesday presser, Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin had some interesting things to say about his upcoming opponents, the Green Bay Packers. Notably, he seems to be a fan of one of their pass-catchers: rookie Jayden Reed.
[I] Really like the young slot out of Michigan State. I thought he was the most complete interior or slot receiver in this past draft. I think the trajectory of his play illustrates that.
Reed was a bit of a surprise selection at the time, as he was ranked 89th on the consensus draft board but was taken 50th overall, over the likes of Rashee Rice, Jalen Hyatt, Cedric Tillman and Josh Downs — receivers who were generally ranked ahead of him on public draft boards. At the moment, though, the pick seems to have worked out for the Packers.
Through eight games, Reed is actually the Packers’ leading receiver, out-gaining both Romeo Doubs and Christian Watson — the team’s two “starting” receivers in two-receiver looks. As Tomlin noted, Reed primarily plays in the slot, which is why he’s only played 57 percent of Green Bay’s total offensive snaps this season. For perspective, Doubs has played 80 percent of the snaps while Christian Watson, who missed three games entirely and left last week’s action early, has played 49 percent of the snaps.
Considering the Steelers’ track record at receiver under Tomlin, this should be seen as a positive sign that he’s a fan of Reed. Since Tomlin became the head coach in Pittsburgh in 2007, the Steelers have drafted the following receivers, without ever using a first-round pick at the position: George Pickens, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson, Emmanuel Sanders, Mike Wallace, Martavis Bryant and Antonio Brown.