The extra mile

Seattle Seahawks' Nick Reed, right, pushes back against defensive line assistant head coach Dan Quinn at an NFL football training camp workout Tuesday in Renton, Wash.

RENTON, Wash. - Sometimes it's a quarterback and his receivers sticking around for a few extra throws after practice wraps up.

On Tuesday morning it was undersized rookie defensive end Nick Reed as the last guy on the field, learning a few more tricks to try to make up for his small stature.

Just how small is the rookie from Oregon? Well, a running back - T.J. Duckett - and a linebacker - Aaron Curry - are both bigger than the Seahawks' seventh-round draft pick.

"I generally try and avoid the comparisons. It's easy to do because of Nick's lack of weight, but I think he's been told that for too long, he probably stopped listening a long time ago," Seattle defensive line coach Dan Quinn said. "He certainly doesn't hear it from me."

Standing just 6-foot-1 and weighing less than 250 pounds, Reed looks more like the typical NFL inside linebacker than a power rusher expected to cause havoc in the offensive backfield. But that's just what Reed was able to do in his career at Oregon despite his lack of size. Reed left Eugene as the school's all-time leader for sacks in a career with 29.5, and was a Pac-10 first-team selection.

Now he's trying to dispel the notion that he's too small for the NFL.

If his first exhibition game is an indication, Reed is on his way. Last Saturday against San Diego, Reed had two sacks and a heady interception, getting to play a chunk of the second half in Seattle's 20-14 victory over the Chargers.

Reed was continually in the Chargers backfield, then smartly recognized a screen pass and dropped off the line to intercept Charlie Whitehurst in the fourth quarter.

"I think you have to make up for it in other places, technique, hustle, knowledge of the other team, 'cause you can't really rely on your size," Reed said. "So you have to go through other things."

On Tuesday, Reed was working with Quinn on some additional techniques to help in stopping the run that he wasn't taught at Oregon. Every little bit helps when you are listed as being 20 pounds lighter than the next-thinnest defensive end on Seattle's roster.

But the Seahawks plan to give Reed every chance to prove he can make up for the size differential. They like his quick first step and his ability to get an offensive tackle off balance with his speed off the corner.

Quinn said they are lining up Reed at right end, because offenses don't normally line up the tight end on that side. That leaves more of a clear path to get pressure on the quarterback.

"I think we all saw a guy who was a playmaker in college, and he's continued that here. Every day in practice, Nick seems to do something that catches your eye," Seattle coach Jim Mora said. "As we talked going into the game Saturday night - I was talking to my dad, as a matter of fact - I said, 'Watch Nick Reed. I bet you that he does a couple good things.' And he did."

Now the Seahawks get three more weeks to figure out if Reed will make the active roster and play a role this season. He's one of three rookies on the Seahawks defensive line, joining free agent signings Michael Bennett and Derek Walker. Both Bennett and Walker are bulkier and heavier, making them more valuable in stopping the run, and Reed's ability to hold leverage against run blocking is a concern because he lacks the weight.

But Reed's motor draws raves from everyone on the Seahawks defense. The coaches hope to test him out in the coming weeks against some more established veteran linemen to see if the performance against the Chargers was a one-time thing or a trend that could make Reed a late-draft steal.


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