Roping him in
Wolf takes FSU DE Reynolds with No. 10 pick
Updated: Saturday April 21, 2001 4:27 PM
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) -- The Green Bay Packers picked defensive end Jamal Reynolds of Florida State with the 10th selection in Saturday's NFL Draft in what general manager Ron Wolf described as his "last rodeo" with the team.
Reynolds, 6-foot-3 and 265 pounds, is known as an excellent pass rusher with speed.
"We got the guy we wanted," head coach Mike Sherman said. "I do believe this young man will affect our defense and create more pass rush. We felt he was the best pass rusher, all-around defensive end. He has extraordinary speed."
Reynolds, 22, of Aiken, S.C., won the Lombardi Award last season as the nation's top lineman in college football.
Reynolds said he was happy joining the Packers because of their discipline.
"I am used to playing for a team like that," he said in a telephone interview from South Carolina. "I think I can step in and start. They have great tradition. It is going to be great to get a chance to play with them."
Reynolds became a starter for the Seminoles as a junior and established himself as one of the top pass rushers in the country. He finished his career with 170 tackles and 23 1/2 quarterback sacks.
"I am just ready to prove everybody wrong about the stereotype about Florida State linemen not doing well [in the NFL]," Reynolds said.
One of the Packers' leaders, safety LeRoy Butler, went to Florida State. The Packers' last No. 1 draft choice from Florida State was Terrell Buckley in 1992. He is no longer with the team.
Reynolds will play both sides of the defensive line, contributing badly needed "speed and explosion," defensive coordinator Ed Donatell said. "It is a dynamite pick for us."
Butler predicted Reynolds will bring new energy to the Packers' defense.
"We expect him to get a lot of sacks. We expect him on third downs to create a lot of havoc, to make that big play for us," Butler said. "This particular guy can be the difference between going 9-7 and being 13-3 and winning the Super Bowl."
The Packers entered the 2001 draft looking for help in the defensive line, at wide receiver and at linebacker.
The team also had the 41st, 71st and 72nd picks in the draft later Saturday. The draft concludes Sunday with four more rounds.
Sherman said the Packers made offers to move up higher in the first round but the price was too costly.
Atlanta used its No. 1 pick to take Virginia Tech quarterback Michael Vick. The Falcons acquired the top choice in a trade with San Diego.
The Packers brought in Florida defensive tackle Gerard Warren and Missouri defensive end Justin Smith for interviews. Cleveland used the No. 3 pick to take Warren and Cincinnati took Smith with No. 4.
Wolf, the architect of Green Bay's return to respectability in the 1990s, which included two Super Bowls, conducted his 10th and final draft before he retires in June, turning the duties over to Sherman.
Wolf said Reynolds would be a good fit for the Packers' "run and chase" defense.
"We are delighted with that selection," Wolf said.
The Packers finished 9-7 a year ago and did not make the playoffs for the second consecutive season.
Reynold's father and two older brothers played college football. He majored in forest management at Florida State and said he expected to graduate next spring.
Reynolds set a lofty goal for himself: "To come in and be a Pro Bowl player."
Sherman called Reynolds the kind of man the Packers want on the team.
"He is a high-character individual, good, strong family values, a man you feel comfortable giving money to," the coach said.
But Reynolds must earn his job, Sherman said. "We are not going to canonize him as a starter just yet."