ATHENS — Former Georgia safety and team captain J.R. Reed finds himself in a familiar position.
Doubted, underestimated, and operating with a large chip on his shoulder.
Reed wasn’t selected in the NFL draft last month, ultimately signing with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
“I always have a chip on my shoulder,” Reed told the SI.com JaguarReport. I always have been doubted, and underrated or whatever you want to call it.
“And you know, this definitely puts a bigger one — an even more bigger one on my shoulder because I wasn’t expecting this. And you know, we’ll just see what happens and just keep working.”
Reed told DawgNation the the NFL combine in Indianapolis that he didn’t know why he had dropped in the projections at that time.
In fact, Reed felt he was the best safety available in the NFL draft.
— Georgia Football (@GeorgiaFootball) May 13, 2020
“I don’t know why expectations have changed, they have changed in my mind,” said Reed, who contemplated turning pro after his junior season.
“I truly, firmly, know I’m the best safety here; I can play in the box, I can play the middle of the field, I can come down and cover your best tight end, whatever you want me to do in that secondary, I can do.”
Reed’s father, former NFL player Jake Reed, told Minnesota Vikings beat writer Chris Tomasson that his son wasn’t drafted due to a torn ACL that he suffered in high school that had not been an issue for years.
Ex-#Vikings star WR Jake Reed said his son Georgia S JR Reed wasn’t drafted because was medically “flagged” due to torn ACL in high school that has been no issue for years. Called it “crazy” Will sign with Jaguars. Jake said Vikings didn’t offer but Pittsburgh & Arizona also did.
— Chris Tomasson (@christomasson) April 25, 2020
Reed skipped the Sugar Bowl, sidelined by what he described at the combine as “a minor turf toe injury,” explaining he chose to rest it so he could compete in the NFL combine.
While Reed didn’t get drafted, going to the NFL combine did give him a chance to show his explosiveness in the broad jump.
The Georgia Pro Day workout, an annual event drawing head coaches, general managers and scouts from all 32 NFL teams, was among the many sports related events canceled amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
By signing with Jacksonville, Reed joked in his JaguarReport interview, he will at least by playing in a stadium he has grown fond of.
The Jaguars play in TIAA Bank Field, where Georgia has won three straight in its annual Sunshine State Showdown with Florida.
“I actually really like that stadium,” Reed said. “I always seem to have pretty decent game up there and I haven’t lost in that stadium at all.”
Really engaging to talk to, and a determined guy. You can tell there is a chip on his shoulder after he surprisingly went undrafted following a 2019 in which he was a Jim Thorpe Award finalist.
— John Shipley (@_John_Shipley) May 13, 2020
Georgia returns three of four starters in the secondary from a unit that ranked No. 8 in the nation last season in pass efficiency defense and No. 1 in scoring defense.
Georgia did not give up a play of 40 yards or longer the final six games of the 2019 regular season.