Joe Reed was born and raised in the small town of Charlotte Court House, Virginia where he starred for Randolph-Henry High School as a receiver, running back, and safety. Coming out of school, Reed was rated a three-star prospect by ESPN and Rivals.com and committed to play his college ball at in-state Virginia.
During his freshman season, Reed played mainly on special teams where he returned 27 kicks for 678 yards. As a receiver, he caught just four passes for 77 yards.
As a sophomore in 2017, he was used as an offensive utility weapon when he caught 23 passes for 244 yards and a pair of touchdowns while also rushing 21 times for 112 yards and another score. On kick return, he averaged over 29 yards per return and scored the first two return touchdowns of his career.
He took a big step forward as a receiver in 2018 when he caught 25 passes for 465 yards and a career-best seven touchdowns. He also set school records for career kick-return yards and touchdowns that same year.
As a senior in 2019, Reed posted his best season by far with 77 catches for 679 yards and another seven touchdowns. He also returned 24 kickoffs for 796 yards and brought two back for scores. He was named a Third-Team All-ACC selection in ‘18 and made the First Team in ‘19.
Reed was selected by the Chargers in the fifth round of the 2020 draft in hopes that he would be a quick fix to the team’s lackluster return game.
As a rookie, Reed began the year as the team’s starting kick returner and broke off a season-long 46-yard return to help the team beat the Bengals in week one. He finished the year without a reception, but he did take five handoffs for 29 yards and a rushing touchdown.
Prior to his sophomore campaign, Reed suffered an injury that kept him from performing at all during the preseason. He was eventually let go during final cuts but was quickly signed to the practice squad where he stayed throughout the entire year. Following the season, he signed a reserve/futures contract.
Years with team: 2
“Joe Reed signed a 1 year, $825,000 contract with the Los Angeles Chargers, including an average annual salary of $825,000. In 2022, Reed will earn a base salary of $825,000 and a workout bonus of $50,000, while carrying a cap hit of $875,000.” - Spotrac.com
Reed has all the makeup of a useful gadget player in the NFL. He’s built like a sizable running back and has the strength to run through arm tackles. As a receiver, he’s strong at the catch point and can outmuscle corners on short routes and intermediate routes. I still believe he has what it takes to make a difference on special teams as the traits that made him wildly successful there in college didn’t just disappear. However, there’s a bit more competition there compared to his first two seasons with the team.
By the end of his rookie season, Reed was at the bottom of the depth chart for wideouts and wasn’t always a lock to be active on game days. His inexperience as a route-runner, on top of the injury he sustained in last year’s camp, continue to keep him from seeing the field and may just keep him from making the team entirely.
After the team added DeAndre Carter in free agency, it’s tough to see Reed making it any higher than the practice squad in 2022.
Odds of making the roster/What to expect in 2022?
The addition of Carter really puts a damper on Reed’s chance to make any kind of impact this season. There’s no path to finding snaps on offense and now his path to being a contributor on special teams looks all but gone. His versatile skill-set will keep the coaching staff interested in developing him but that seems like a pretty far-off idea at this point.