After a decorated college career as Navy's quarterback, Keenan Reynolds began transitioning to a new position this week at the East-West Shrine Game in St. Petersburg, Fla. He's been utilized at running back in practices for the all-star game, but some feel he's a better fit as a slot receiver.
While his position is uncertain, he's a very intriguing talent. Which NFL team would be the best fit for Reynolds? We posed that question to our panel of experts. Here are their answers.
Belichick would be great match for Reynolds
I'm saying the New England Patriots, because of Bill Belichick's background at the Naval Academy. His father, Steve, was a longtime coach. Belichick has a special feeling for players coming from there. Reynolds set an NCAA record for career touchdowns. He's under 5-foot-11 and weighs less than 190 pounds, and he's not a very accurate passer. But he did have an unbelievably great passing game this year vs. Houston (350-plus yards). He cannot play the quarterback position in the NFL. But because of his off-the-charts quickness, speed and athletic ability, he might be a Wes Welker-type of player, a slot receiver, for the Patriots. Belichick has the patience and creativity to find a spot for this outstanding player.
Bay Area a perfect destination
To utilize Keenan Reynolds effectively, a team will have to have a plan for him and be willing to carve out a package for his talents while he transitions from quarterback into ... whatever he is going to be. Reynolds doesn't have the size to be your typical running back, but he did show off his impressive burst when operating from zone-read packages this week at East-West Shrine Game practices. Reynolds does look like he can catch the ball a little bit but might not be ready for a trip into the slot. Explosive running traits, highly productive, intelligent with an ability to work from packages involving him as a run-first quarterback? Hello, Chip Kelly and the San Francisco 49ers.
Reynolds could help contender
Keenan Reynolds never returned a kick or punt at Navy, but don't think it couldn't potentially help him earn an NFL roster spot. Here's guessing his absence of returns experience was simply a wise act of preservation by coach Ken Niumatalolo, recognizing a dynamic quarterback who already takes enough hits playing triple-option football. He's athletic enough, and certainly proven tough enough, to merit a look in such a role. So, why not the worst kickoff-return team in football? That would be the Carolina Panthers and their league-low 18.5-yard KOR average.
Carolina would be ideal landing spot
Keenan Reynolds would be a great fit with the Carolina Panthers. He could compete for carries as a third back, or work the middle as a slot receiver in concert with TE Greg Olsen. And the Panthers ranked last in the NFL with 18.5 yards per kick return in 2015, an area where Reynolds must make an impact to stick at the next level.
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