When NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue announces Jamal Reynolds' name today, the 6-foot-3, 268-pound defensive end won't step on stage to pose with his new uniform.
"I didn't get invited, so I was kind of upset with that," Reynolds said of the NFL Draft guest list that was limited to five players.
No biggie. Reynolds prefers a private gathering of family and friends in his parents' living room in Aiken to the lights and cameras of draft headquarters in New York.
"After it's over, I might have a party," Reynolds said.
It's not a question of whether or not the Lombardi Award-winning defensive end from Florida State will become a first-round millionaire in today's NFL Draft. It's a question of how soon.
"I'm expecting the top 10, and hopefully they'll call my name pretty early," Reynolds said. "I don't want to wait around too long."
Draft analysts project Reynolds to be chosen anywhere from fourth to 20th overall, with a lot of emphasis being put on the Chicago Bears at No. 8.
The youngest of four children, Reynolds played at Aiken High School before going on to become one of the Seminoles' top defensive players. His older brothers Diron (Wake Forest) and Rashad (Rice) also played at the collegiate level. Sister Dekesha is now a coach at Aiken High.
During his senior year at Florida State, Reynolds made 58 tackles and had 12 sacks for 70 yards.
Reynolds is considered one of the top three defensive ends in the draft, along with Missouri's Justin Smith and California's Andre Carter. The only question scouts have about Reynolds is his size.
He addressed that by adding 10 pounds since the end of his college season. He bulked up without sacrificing the speed and agility that have him considered the superior pass-rushing end in the draft.
"All the scouts thought I was kind of light, so I wanted to put on a few more pounds," he said. "I know I'm the same size as those guys, but I don't think they're the kind of athlete that I am. I think that ought to be a big factor when it comes to drafting a guy."
Most teams are committed to using Reynolds as an end in the NFL, though at a private workout Tuesday, the Pittsburgh Steelers addressed using him as an outside linebacker in their 3-4 scheme. It's the kind of deployment that made Kevin Greene the biggest sack-producing linebacker in NFL history.
"I'd still be playing end on certain downs, and on certain downs they'd have me dropping," Reynolds said. "That would be a nice position. A lot of guys have made the Pro Bowl doing that. I think I have the ability to go in and do the same thing."
Reynolds has noticed the criticisms in mock drafts that classify him as undersized and weak against the run.
"That's just talk," he said. "I never got knocked off the ball or pancaked, so I don't see what the big deal is. You read it, but you don't pay no attention to it. You kind of use it to motivate you a little bit."
Reach Scott Michaux at (706) 823-3219.
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