Caraun Reid benefiting from his surroundings

Posted Jun 27, 2014

Rookie defensive tackle Caraun Reid says watching Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley every day in practice has accelerated his learning curve to the NFL.

There are smart football players and then there’s Detroit Lions fifth-round pick Caraun Reid, who graduated from Princeton earlier this month with a degree in sociology and a certificate in African American studies.

Reid is obviously a quick learner in the classroom, and if he pays attention to his surroundings, there’s no reason the young defensive tackle can’t be just as fast of a learner on the field too.

Caraun ReidDT Caraun Reid (Photo: Detroit Lions)

Just as young receivers inherently benefit from practicing and sitting in the same meeting room with All Pro Calvin Johnson, Reid says he soaked up all the practice and meeting time spent with Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley and the decades of knowledge defensive line coach Jim Washburn brings to the table over the spring.

“Being around and being able to model myself after the veterans of the group, that’s been the biggest jump for me,” Reid said. “Just being able to see how to do it right.”

Reid has an interesting blend of smarts, speed and power for the position. Consider this, every day in practice he gets to watch how Suh uses strength and power to his advantage. All he has to do is turn his head slightly to the left and the speed and quickness of a now leaner Fairley is on display.

It doesn’t take a Princeton education to know that watching how that pair plays the position and gains advantage over opponents will only accelerate the learning process for Reid.

“I’m talking about guys that are football-smart more so than anything else because guys that are able to absorb information, apply it within the schematics, it’s very, very important that they can adjust quickly to things that they see,” head coach Jim Caldwell said when asked about Reid’s intelligence this spring.

“So, I think that’s all part of it. I think you’ll also find those guys have pretty long careers. They do a great majority of the things right, so we look for guys that are smart. We always talk about smart, fast and physical. That’s an important one for us.”

Reid will try and become the Lions fourth defensive tackle behind Suh, Fairley and veteran C.J. Mosley during training camp. Reid is 6-foot-2, 301 pounds and ran nearly an identical 40-yard dash time (4.91) at the NFL Scouting Combine as Fairley did (4.87) in 2011. His game has a lot of similarities to Fairley's.

Reid says he’s bought into Washburn and fellow defensive line coach Kris Kocurek’s philosophy and coaching style, and can’t wait to get the pads on in a month and get to work.

“Not only can he coach me, but he can back it up through the players he’s coached,” Reid said of Washburn. “It’s something where I’m buying in and trusting him to lead me in the right direction.

“It’s the most fun I’ve had playing football.”