If you thought D.J. Reed was all smiles when the San Francisco 49ers drafted him with the 142nd overall pick in the fifth round of the NFL Draft on Saturday, think again.
"Being a fifth-round draft pick, I honestly feel disrespected," Reed said during a conference call with media, "but I'm blessed the 49ers picked me up. I've got a lot to prove still."
Reed was a standout cornerback for two years at Kansas State. He joined the Wildcats as a junior-college transfer out of Cerritos College in Norwalk, Calif., and made an instant impact.
As a sophomore, Reed was the team's top cover corner and piled up 78 tackles and three interceptions.
As a junior, he evolved into one of the top defensive backs in the Big 12 and also emerged as a dangerous kick returner. Reed had 47 tackles and four interceptions on defense, and he had 835 yards and two touchdowns as a return man.
Reed played so well with the Wildcats that he chose to declare for the NFL Draft early rather than return to K-State for his senior year.
He thought he deserved to go in the third round, if not even earlier.
"That's definitely going to stick with me until I'm done playing," Reed said. "I don't know, man, I just feel disrespected. But like I said, I'm happy, but I feel like I've got a lot to prove. A lot of corners went before me and that's definitely going to be something I'm going to remember."
Reed projects to play slot corner for the 49ers and also hopes to return kicks.
San Francisco general manager John Lynch picked him, in large part, because of his versatility.
“D.J. Reed is a guy we’re extremely excited about,” Lynch said at his NFL Draft news conference. “... While he can play some nickel and free safety, we also think he can hold up along the outside corner. He’s done that at K-State. He’s another great punt returner. We’ve got a lot of those, and that’s a good thing.”