Seattle Seahawks

Seahawks stay with need in round 2, draft Alabama run-stopping DT Jarran Reed for “unbelievable value”

RENTON Was Jarran Reed destined to be a Seahawk, or what?

I mean, he was munching on Skittles when NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced Seattle had drafted him in the second round.

It was crazy, because I was chewing on Skittles when I got the call and I was just thinking, ‘Hey, Marshawn (Lynch) loves Skittles!’” Alabama’s defensive tackle said.

“It’s exciting.”

The Seahawks are going right after their most glaring needs immediately to begin the NFL draft.

One night after taking an offensive tackle for a depleted line, Seattle drafted Reed in the second round Friday, at No. 49 overall.

Seahawks scout Jim Nagy is from Alabama and has been watching Reed and the Crimson Tide for years.

“He’s the best run-stuffer I've seen in a long time,” Nagy said Friday night.

Nagy said Reed has a different body type than the more squat Brandon Mebane but said Reed has “similar skill sets" to the man that anchored the Seahawks’ run defense for nine years before he left in March to San Diego in free agency.

“He’s the alpha dog of that program,” Seahawks general manager John Schneider said of Reed at national-champion Alabama.

Reed was in Chicago Friday when he became the third defensive lineman general manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll have drafted in the first two rounds since they took over the Seahawks in 2010. He was backstage at the draft because he was expected to be a first-round pick Thursday before becoming an “unbelievable value” for Seattle, according to Nagy.

“Patience is a virtue. It’s a long wait, but it was worth it,” Reed said via FaceTime. “I’m happy to be a part of the Seahawks organization.”

His road was longer than his wait.

He left his native Craven County, North Carolina, and seemed headed to Division-II football as a linebacker but decided to attend Hargrave Military College in Chatham, Virginia. He then enrolled at East Mississippi Community College in Scooba, Mississippi. He remembers there were two gas stations there. Major-college programs offered him scholarships soon after, and he chose home-state North Carolina. Then he changed his mind to Mississippi -- then changed his mind again, to Florida in early 2013. But he didn’t have enough credits from his junior college yet to leave, so he stayed another year at East Mississippi C.C. Only then, three years after he left high school, did he and Alabama find each other.

Now that’s a long road to the NFL.

Reed said he last talked to the Seahawks at the Senior Bowl in January. The team’s coaches and scouts stayed away from home at February’s combine in Indianapolis and they didn’t have him to its Renton headquarters for a workout or talk to him at Alabama’s Pro Day this spring. That keeps with Seattle’s penchant for pre-draft secrecy and counter-intelligence of their true intentions.

“You know, this whole time I had this certain feeling ... right before it happened I said, ‘Mom, I’m going to the Seahawks,’” Reed said. “I’ve been talking about the Seahawks. I’m just real happy and excited that it actually happened, and to have my dream come true and play on that defense.”

How much did Seahawks general manager John Schneider like Reed? He traded Seattle’s fourth-round pick Saturday, No. 124 overall, to Chicago to move up from 56 to 49 in the second round to get the two-year starter at Alabama who was second-team All-Southeastern Conference.

The Seahawks love Reed being 6 feet 2 7/8 inches tall and 311 pounds with long (33 3/8-inch) arms. (He’s always been big, by the way: He was born 23 years ago in Craven County, North Carolina, at 10 pounds, seven ounces and first walked at 7 1/2 months old).

The Seahawks also love his athleticism and his run-stopping ability, and he’s known to have a nasty streak. That was the skill nose tackle Brandon Mebane had for nine seasons for Seattle, making it the league’s top run defense -- until he left in free agency in March for San Diego. Some had Reed the third-best defnsive tackle in this draft -- ahead of Thursday’s 29th-overall pick Robert Nkemdiche, by Arizona.

NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah said of Reed before this draft: "Talk about value, this was my 13th-rated player in the draft. He is always working forward with that powerful base and dominates against the run.”

Reed has a daughter born three weeks ago, Jacey. Yeah, that changed him.

“Now,” he said, “it’s more than me.”

I asked him to confirm that he was a “two-gap” tackle on Alabama’s defensive front, tying up blockers and freeing linebackers the way Mebane did so well in Seattle for about a decade.

“Yes, sir,” Reed said, before adding: “I was everything. Two-gap. One-gap. Head-up. I was a player. I did it all.”

Reed was in Chicago Thursday and Friday nights backstage at the draft, because he was expected to be a first-round pick. He had a driving-under-the-influence charge in July 2014 after allegedly backing into another car in a parking lot and registering .13 on a blood-alcohol test in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, home of his college. Nagy, the scout, said the Seahawks viewed that as an over-and-done incident and mistake of youth and not a major deterrent to drafting him, and that he had no other off-the-field issues at Alabama.

Seattle had three more picks Friday night, in the third round at 90th, 94th and 97th overall.

The Seahawks had seven more selections in this draft following the Reed pick, through Saturday’s seventh and final round.