The Redskins have a pretty crowded running back room in 2019, but with 33 year old Adrian Peterson not getting any younger, and 28 years old Chris Thompson in the final year of his contract, the front office needs to have at least one eye on the future. Derrius Guice has yet to play a down in an NFL regular season game; 4th round draft pick Bryce Love is rehabbing from a torn ACL himself and may or may not be ready to play this season. The future is uncertain for 3rd year running back Samaje Perine, and Byron Marshall is a marginal NFL backup.
Enter UDFA Craig Reynolds.
Reynolds played at Kutztown, which is a Division II school in southeastern Pennsylvania. A couple of NFL players have come from there, including Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver Andre Reed.
Reynolds had a highly-decorated career as a collegiate athlete, as he was named the 2018 team MVP, a three-time All-Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference East First Team Player and set three school records with 34 career rushing touchdowns, 261 rushing yards in a single game and 345 all-purpose yards in a game. He’s considered an all-purpose back who is just as dangerous out of the backfield as a receiver as he is a runner.
While Reynolds may look like an unlikely candidate to break into a Redskins 2019 roster that is deep at running back, with his all-around abilities as a runner, receiver and returner, he could represent the front office looking ahead to a 2020 season in which Reynolds could contribute as the primary backup and return man behind Guice & Bryce.
Lance Zerlein of NFL.com wrote a pre-draft profile of Reynolds.
Two-time team captain with great size and a diverse set of skills that sets him apart from many small-school prospects at the running back position. Reynolds’ flash plays will whet the appetite, but the tape leaves you wanting more from him as a runner. He should benefit from a more downhill approach where his one-cut ability could be better utilized than in the off-set RPO looks he had at Kutztown. He tested well at his pro day and has a chance to be considered late in the draft or as a priority free agent.
Pro Day Results
Height : 5’ 10 Weight: 218 lbs
Forty – 4.54 Shuttle – 4.45 Vert — 35” Broad — 9’7“ Reps — 19 L Cone – 6.89
The Draft Diamonds website had a lot of good things to say about Reynolds:
Accelerates off the line with a strong jab step. Makes good cuts avoids traffic can hit the 2nd gear once in open space.
Has the power to grind it between the tackles the burst around the edge to be a threat on the outside.
Has quick feet moves flexibility elusiveness that you can see on display in the pass game & in the return game.
Has the body frame to add the needed girth or body mass while still maintaining that low 4.5 speed. Type of back you can just keep feeding him the ball & he will keep improving.
There is no doubt that Reynolds has just as good potential if not better than his 2nd or 3rd day projected counterparts.
College Career Stats
Some personal stuff
Draft Diamonds posted an interview with Craig Reynolds. Here are a few selected questions and answers:
Growing up, who was your favorite NFL Team & NFL player, & why?
- The Atlanta Falcons and my favorite NFL player growing up was Michael Vick.
If you could be in any movie of your choice, what would it be & what character would you play?
- I would be in Any Given Sunday and play as Willie Beamen (Jamie Foxx). It is my favorite football movie. He wore 13 and got them to the playoffs when no one believed he could.
If you could have dinner with three people, dead or alive, who are they?
- Denzel Washington – My favorite actor.
- Russell Westbrook – My favorite athlete.
- Eric Reynolds – My older Brother.
If you could meet any historical figure, who would you choose & why?
- Martin Luther King. He changed the world.
What are three words to give NFL scouts that define Craig Reynolds?
What current/former NFL player do you compare yourself to?
- I would compare myself to David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals Running Back. He is versatile and can play all over the field on offense and has the ability to return on special teams.
So, we’ve got a decent sized back who shows some power and quickness that averaged 5.3 yards per carry, 10.5 yards per reception, 21.6 yards per kickoff return, and 11 yards per punt return, who also scored 45 touchdowns in a 4 year career at a Division II school in Pennsylvania. What should I make of his NFL potential generally, and his possible role with the Redskins in particular?
To answer that question, I turned to a film analyst who has volunteered to give his take on the Redskins UDFAs.
James FitzGerald (@GMDfitz7765) is a former college player, high school coach, and an avid college football fan who has spent hours in the film room watching opponents and his own teams. His analytical skill adds depth to these profiles that I can’t supply on my own.
Let’s see what he has to say.
Fitz’s film review
Film Watched: Kutztown V. California University of Pennsylvania and highlights
Craig Reynolds is a strong runner; people bounce off of his decent sized frame. When hit he keeps his feet moving and is rarely brought down by the first tackler.
Along with his strength he also has decent speed and quickness. He makes quick and smart cuts to gain extra yards. Reynolds also has good vision. He finds the hole quickly and attacks before it closes up.
He is a great receiver out of the back field too, with good hands and the ability to track the ball in the air.
Importantly, Reynolds has special teams ability. He is a good kick returner and could possibly be used as a punt returner as well due to his vision combined with his speed and strength.
On the downside, Reynolds is not a great blocker. He does not strike the defensive pass rusher well, and he makes terrible cut blocks. He is lucky Kutztown’s QB was so mobile or Reynolds would have gotten him killed multiple times.
On top of that, in the game I watched, he wasn’t on the field during a two minute drill at the end of the half, which tells me the coach wasn’t comfortable having Reynolds in situations where he might’ve had to pass block.
Reynolds also doesn’t ‘sell’ the play action, but goes through the motions fairly lazily. At times he doesn’t even put up his arms to fake grab it. He will have to learn to be much more effective with these plays if he wants to make any NFL team.
A final issue for Craig Reynolds is that he spent his college career playing against inferior talent. He wasn’t playing against bad football players, but they were nothing like the competition he is going to see in camp. The talent gap might shock him.
How would he fit with the Redskins?
Without a doubt the Redskins signed Reynolds to try out as a returner on special teams. He is a great athlete; however, he is not better than any other running back on the Redskins roster. As I mentioned above, he returned kicks in college, and if he is able to wow the coaches as a returner, he could make the team, but if he doesn’t win the return job, he will be cut.
Redskins running backs
- Adrian Peterson
- Derrius Guice
- Chris Thompson
- Samaje Perine
- Bryce Love
- Byron Marshall
- Craig Reynolds
As UDFAs go, rate Craig Reynolds:
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How good are the chances that Craig Reynolds is on the Redskins roster in 2019?
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A taste of Craig Reynolds’ Twitter feed:
Damn just rewatched this. 3 years ago, Fred VanVleet got up in front of everyone at his draft party and had to tell them he didn't get drafted. Now look at him. For some dudes, this event doesn't mean shit. (credit: FVVTV/YouTube) pic.twitter.com/WBD2hrFlPz— C.J. Toledano (@CJToledano) June 20, 2019
The players on this list are a safety Gruden keeps mentioning, a running back from Kutztown University and a really, really tall tight end. https://t.co/pa68IRhG4c— NBC Sports Redskins (@NBCSRedskins) June 14, 2019
Strong showing by the running backs room. Guice, Peterson and Craig Reynolds all staying late after practice to sign for fans. pic.twitter.com/6PcLaWl2g3— michael phillips (@michaelpRTD) June 6, 2019