Former Georgia safety J.R. Reed was picked up by the Jacksonville Jaguars as an undrafted free agent after the conclusion of the NFL draft on April 25. Reed will now have the opportunity to play at the next level in the same stadium where he went 3-0 with the Bulldogs against rival Florida.
Jacksonville has back-to-back last place finishes in the AFC South for 2018 and 2019. The Jaguars used the draft as an opportunity to fill holes in the secondary left by cornerbacks Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye.
The Jaguars prioritized drafting talent in the secondary. Jacksonville selected three new cornerbacks: Florida’s CJ Henderson in the first round, Michigan State’s Josiah Scott in the fourth, and Memphis’ Chris Claybrooks in the seventh. Reed will also be joining fifth-round selection Auburn safety Daniel Thomas.
Reed transferred from Tulsa to Georgia in 2016 and awaited eligibility for the 2017 season. He then became a critical member of the Bulldogs’ defensive backfield during his career at Georgia. He totaled 199 tackles, five interceptions, three fumble recoveries and two defensive touchdowns. He chose to return to Georgia instead of entering the 2019 NFL Draft, and he finished with first-team all-SEC honors. He was also one of three finalists for the Jim Thorpe Award, which goes to the nation’s top defensive back.
Reed was a team captain and senior leader for the Bulldogs in 2019 although he missed the 2019 Sugar Bowl with a foot injury. He showcased an ability to make big plays, such as his critical interception versus Notre Dame on Sep. 21. He was one of 10 Georgia players invited to the NFL Combine where he posted a 4.58 second 40-yard dash and 310-inch broad jump.
Although Reed went undrafted, Jacksonville recognized that with 42 consecutive starts in the SEC, Reed’s experience against intense competition has prepared him for the NFL.
Reed will be looking to help the Jaguars fill their biggest need, rebuilding the defensive backfield.