Florida football: David Reese II finds a home in Carolina

While he wasn’t part of the four-round NFL Draft, this Florida football player was able to find a place to put his skills to good use.

Perhaps one of the biggest surprises of the 2020 NFL Draft — at least to Florida football fans — was that middle linebacker David Reese II didn’t get picked up.

In fact, it wasn’t until Sunday afternoon that Reese finally found a home when the Carolina Panthers signed him as an unrestricted free agent.

Reese joins fellow defensive players Jonathan Greenard, Jabari Zuniga, Adam Shuler and CJ Henderson as former Florida football players who have found NFL teams to call home.

Where Reese Fits with Carolina

The Panthers were in real need of defensive help this draft.

But, interestingly enough, they needed linebacker help and didn’t draft it, for some reason.

They did pick up Auburn defensive tackle Derrick Brown with their first pick in the draft. They followed that up with Penn State defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos in the second round.

The Panthers picked up a pair of safeties — Southern Illinois’ Jeremy Chinn and West Virginia’s Kenny Robinson along with cornerbacks — Notre Dame’s Troy Pride Jr. and Florida International’s Stantley Thomas-Oliver III.

Again, however, no linebackers.

David Reese II
Linebacker Florida Gators

This is where Reese comes into the picture. The Panthers still needed linebacking help, especially after Luke Kuechly announced his retirement back in January.

In his four years with Florida football, Reese was a staple in the defensive backfield, amassing 324 tackles — including 19.5 tackles for loss.

His sophomore season was a breakout with 102 total tackles, but he did add 92 tackles his senior year.

Reese brings solid speed and a good ability to read routes, which made him dangerous to teams looking for deep threats.

His knack for closing in on opponents with the football added to his value.

Given the chance, Reese can be a dangerous player with the flexibility to play inside and outside. While the Panthers are looking for more inside help, Reese should be able to adapt and be a contender to play in his first season.

Carolina already has a solid front line on defense and their draft picks just bolstered that.

Reese’s athleticism gives him the opportunity to become a factor in head coach Matt Rhule’s defensive scheme from day one.

He should come into training camp with a big chip on his shoulder for not being drafted, which translates into someone who is hungry and eager to do what it takes to earn a spot.

Carolina will be tested in the NFC South with opponents’ passing games, but given the chance, Reese can help minimize that threat.

Next: 3 Gators sign as free agents with NFL teams

In all, Reese is a good free agent pick-up for the Panthers. Now, it will be up to him to show Carolina what the Florida football prospect can really do.

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