For Ute fans, names like Eric Weddle, Alex Smith, and Zane Beadles are all-time fan favorites. Now you can add Trevor Reilly to that list. Reilly is hoping to join those names by getting selected this week in the NFL Draft.
Reilly has the heart of a lion, and an undeniable will to succeed. Take the 2012 season for example, he played through a torn ACL every single game; plus, nobody really knew about it until he had surgery after the season ended.
On top of his physical ailments, he and his family have been dealing with a much larger, and scarier battle. Reilly's 1-year old daughter, Shayn, has been battling cancer and the chemotherapy treatments.
When you add what he and his family have been going through personally, plus his knee injury, with the rigors of being a student-athlete, he's shown an unbelievable level of perseverance.
The problem is, NFL teams will latch onto a couple potential issues, even if they may be non-issues to begin with. Most of the guys in draft rooms, and around NFL mock draft sites, see two red flags. First, his surgically repaired knee has raised concerns. Before the NFL Draft Combine he had to have his knee scoped to clean out some scar tissue, so that limited him in his workouts. When you combine that with red flag number two, his age, some NFL teams and draft experts are wary of him.
Trevor Reilly will be a 26-year old rookie in the NFL. Since he served a two-year LDS mission, that has put him behind in age, where most NFL rookies will be around 21-years old. However, Reilly has pointed out in multiple interviews, those are two years that he didn't play any football. He argues that in "football years," he's only 24. Regardless, people see his knee and his age and hold that against him.
Here are a couple of mock draft profiles for Trevor Reilly, with possible draft position:
CBSSPORTS.com(click for full profile)
STRENGTHS: "Locates the ball quickly and is a passionate defender, showing good overall athleticism and straight-line speed for a man of his size. Versatile playmaker who starred at defensive end and outside linebacker before moving to middle linebacker for his final game. Good awareness in coverage."
WEAKNESS: "Average quickness off the snap, and was not explosive enough to consistently beat quality left tackles in college. Largely a finesse defender who relies on his athleticism to slip free, rather than forcefully defeating his man."
OVERALL: 111 - POSITION: 11 - ROUND: 3rd or 4th
NFL.com (click for full profile)
STRENGTHS: "Takes good angles. Solid tackler. Ultra-tough, mentally and physically (played through ACL injury as a junior). Extremely competitive. Very good football intelligence -- can line up a defense. Versatile -- has played every LB position and can interchange with ease. Respected tone-setter. Outstanding work ethic. Identifies with the game. Ultra-competitive."
WEAKNESS: "Wore a brace on his right knee and plant strength did not appear at full strength. Had arthroscopic surgery on the knee following the season and will require closer medical evaluation. Overaged -- will be a 26-year-old rookie. Really labored in positional workout at his pro day, not showing burst or agility."
BOTTOM LINE: "A country-strong, throwback, wrangler cowboy with the toughness desired to set the edge and the motor, intensity and competitiveness to produce effort sacks. Can factor as a 3-4 rush linebacker in an odd front or match up with tight ends as a strong-side linebacker in an even front. Could contribute readily as a situational rusher and, with continued strength gains, emerge as a DE prospect. Versatility is a plus."
PROJECTION: Rounds 4-5
My guess is that the red flags listed above will have him slide into the late rounds, or an undrafted free agent, even if his talent is around a 3rd round grade.
Reilly is going to be an asset to any team that picks him up, whether via the draft or free agency. He will raise the competitive level of any locker room, and bring an incredible toughness to any organization. All he needs is a chance to get on the field and play. His instincts are great, and with his knee at 100%, his athleticism shouldn't be a big concern. Whichever team picks up Trevor, they'll have a bunch of Utes join their bandwagon.
Good luck, Trevor! Give 'em hell!