The 13th-overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft is finally repaying the Arizona Cardinals front office for having faith in him
Back on October 11th, the defensive unit of the Arizona Cardinals suffered a major loss. Chandler Jones will be sidelined for the year with a torn bicep, a significant blow to the squad’s ability to put pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Cards general manager Steve Keim referred to the injury as “heartbreaking”, but one positive did come out of the devastating incident.
For the past three seasons, Arizona has been searching for a way to properly utilize one of their first-round draft selections. Haason Reddick, the club’s top pick in 2017, was producing much less than expected. The former Temple University product had been used at both inside linebacker and defensive end, but the Cardinals were far from satisfied with Reddick’s play at either spot.
Late in 2019, the Cards presented one final position change for the disappointing Reddick. The 6’1, 235 pounder would be moved to outside linebacker, where the defender would hopefully be able to flash some skills as a pass-rusher. Now, six games into the 2020 campaign, the last-ditch experiment appears to be a success.
Heading into this weekend’s matchup with the Seattle Seahawks, Reddick leads the Cardinals defense in sacks. The New Jersey native has taken the opposition’s signal-callers to the ground four times. Has the coaching staff finally found a niche for the revitalized Reddick?
At his current pace, Reddick would finish with double-digit sacks for the first time in his professional career. The defender has already matched his previous high in that category, when he recorded four sacks in 16 appearances for Arizona back in 2018.
Reddick has contributed quite nicely for the Cards in other areas as well. Despite the fact that he has started just one contest, the 26-year old has also managed to chip in 15 tackles (four for a loss), three passes defensed and six quarterback hits. This past Monday, Reddick tallied two sacks, five tackles and a pass breakup during the Cardinals 38-10 rout of the Dallas Cowboys.
What the future holds for Arizona’s new starter at outside linebacker is not quite clear. Back in May, the team’s management declined the fifth-year option on the player’s rookie contract. Keim and the Cards may want to rethink that decision if Reddick continues to perform as well as he has in 2020.