Undrafted Reed hopes to pick off spot with Chargers

Undrafted Reed hopes to pick off spot with Chargers
Los Angeles Chargers defensive back Trovon Reed, here at training camp at Jack R. Hammett Farm Sports Complex in Costa Mesa, is hoping to earn a spot on the Los Angeles Chargers' 53-man roster. (Raul Roa / Daily Pilot)

There's something to be said about perseverance and Los Angeles Chargers defensive back Trovon Reed is hoping to have the last word.

In only a couple of summers, Reed has become a waiver wire darling and a veteran of four NFL franchises in five cities.


As Reed embarks on his next summer of camps, now with the Los Angeles Chargers at Costa Mesa's Jack Hammett Farm Sports Complex, there is no bitterness or anxiety.

Rather, the former Auburn standout is brimming with confidence and excited about his prospects.


"Ah man, you see the difference with this team," Reed said. "It was different than a lot of camps. We have a new coach, new everything, new city, all these fans that love us, man. I'm just ready to play some ball."

Reed was undrafted out of college and began his nationwide trek signing as a free agent with the Seattle Seahawks on May 2, 2015.

Since then, he's been cut and signed by the Seahawks, St. Louis Rams, Miami Dolphins and back again by the Seahawks before inking with the San Diego Chargers and joining their practice squad on Oct. 26, 2016.

Injuries to key Chargers gave Reed an opportunity for some playing time, which was granted almost exactly a month later when the squad traveled to face the AFC South champion Houston Texans on Nov. 27.

Reed saw some playing time in the Chargers' 21-13 victory over the Texans.

His biggest impact came in back-to-back games, first when he intercepted Cam Newton on Dec. 12 in a Carolina Panthers' 26-18 victory in Charlotte.

Reed finished with two tackles and one interception that was initially returned 100 yards for a touchdown. Upon review, however, Reed's interception return was ruled down by contact.

A week later, Reed picked off another star quarterback in Oakland's Derek Carr in a Raiders' 19-16 victory Dec. 18 in San Diego.

Reed finished out the season and tallied 14 tackles, two passes defensed and two interceptions in six games. Though he played less than half the season, Reed was only one of two Chargers with two or more interceptions, joining Casey Hayward (seven).

"What I learned from last year is that I just get better every year," Reed said. "I talked to Casey every day and I told him, 'Man, you're the best corner in the league' and he said, 'Man, that's last year. Let's establish that this year you and me both can be the best corners.'

"So, I put on the pads and I try to create that new identity. This is the level that I want to be at."

Perhaps one of the reasons why Reed is unfazed with all the moves and camps he's been at during such a short period is because he's had to make quick adjustments before and thrived.

Reed was recruited out of Louisiana Thibodaux High as a running back, but was asked to switch to wide receiver at Auburn. Before his senior season with the Tigers, Reed converted into a defensive back and finished with three interceptions.

That Tigers squad finished 8-5, No. 22 in the nation in the Associated Press poll and lost the 2015 Outback Bowl to Wisconsin. Though Reed had an interception in that contest, it was current Chargers teammate Melvin Gordon, then a running back with Wisconsin, who was the game's MVP.

"Whatever coach wants me to do, I'm doing it," Reed said. "If he says, 'Run through a wall,' I'm putting my helmet on and I'm running through that wall."

Injuries in the secondary this offseason have again provided Reed with an opportunity to display his talents.

In one practice, Reed picked off two passes, including one from Phillip Rivers that drew a holler of protest from the starting Pro Bowl quarterback.

"I feel like we have the best DB group in the country, honestly," Reed said. "I'm not just saying that because I'm here. These guys are really talented. We push each other every day for that starting spot. We're on each other. It's the most competition here by far."

Reed's feelings about the secondary aren't isolated.

"I think we're top-notch and you can put us in the category with anybody once we get everybody back healthy," Chargers safety Jahleel Addae said. "We have [cornerback] Jason [Verrett] coming back and he's feeling good. Once we get him and Casey back with me, Tre Boston and [Adrian Phillips], we're deep and we can go to-to-toe. Guys want to be a part of this."

So, when Reed was asked what he needed to do to make the 53-man roster, the cornerback who's already turned in a pair of interceptions this summer just grinned.

"It's just being me, just being me," Reed said. "I can't be someone else. I can't be Superman. I have to do my job and that will keep me here. I just have to keep working."