Reeves-Maybin’s Speed and Athleticism Make Him Stand Out

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    Jalen Reeves-Maybin may not have the typical size of an NFL linebacker, but what he lacks in height and weight he makes up for with speed and athleticism. And that’s what’s getting him noticed in Detroit.

    Tim Twentyman of the Detroit Lions’ official website took a look at where the Lions’ rookies stand heading into training camp. The Lions will start camp later this month, and several of their rookies are already in line to make significant contributions in 2017.

    And one of those rookies is former Vol Jalen Reeves-Maybin.

    Here is what Twentyman had to say about Reeves-Maybin:

    “His speed and ability to cover jumped out this offseason. There is going to be stiff competition for playing time at the WILL linebacker spot, but Reeves-Maybin has as good a shot at earning playing time there as anyone else. How quickly he picks up the scheme, which will allow him to play fast, will determine his role. At the very least, his speed could make him a good cover man on special teams.”

    Reeves-Maybin first made a name for himself with the Vols on special teams. As a freshman, Reeves-Maybin stood out on kickoff and punt coverage because of his speed and athleticism. His most famous play as a freshman came when he blocked a punt against Georgia that was recovered and returned for a touchdown in the Vols’ overtime loss to the Bulldogs in 2013.

    After that solid freshman campaign on special teams, Reeves-Maybin became a fixture on Tennessee’s defense at outside linebacker. And now he’s looking to take a similar path in the NFL.

    Reeves-Maybin totaled 240 tackles, 27 tackles for loss, 8 sacks, and four fumble recoveries as a Vol. An injury in his senior year prevented him from matching his output of his sophomore and junior campaigns, but his body of work was still impressive enough for the Lions to take him in the fourth round of this year’s NFL draft.

    Now that Reeves-Maybin is in the NFL, he’s looking to stay healthy and play to his strengths to impress his coaches. And so far, he’s doing just that.

    Nathanael Rutherford
    Nathanael Rutherford is the managing editor and social media manager for Rocky Top Insider. Nathanael graduated from the University of Tennessee and cultivated a passion for the Vols while growing up in Knoxville a mere 10 minutes from Neyland Stadium. He's been a part of the RTI team since November of 2015 and has been the editor of RTI since June of 2017. If he's not talking or writing about Tennessee athletics, he's probably talking about Star Wars.