With the 50th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Green Bay Packers selected Naperville Central alum Jayden Reed, following a stellar career as a wide receiver at Michigan State University. As a second round selection, Reed became the highest draft pick in Naperville Central program history. Owen Daniels was a fourth round selection in 2006.
Jayden Reed gets his NFL shot following a standout college career
Reed spent his first three high school seasons at Metea Valley before transferring to Naperville Central for his senior season. In his lone season with the Redhawks, Reed earned first team All-State honors after tallying 1,179 receiving yards and 18 total touchdowns.
He began his collegiate football career as a freshman All-American at Western Michigan University in 2018, before transferring to Michigan State before the 2019 season.
After sitting out the 2019 season, Reed spent the next three seasons as a key member of the Spartan offense as both a wide receiver and punt returner. He earned All-American honors as an all-purpose player as a redshirt junior in 2021.
Reed finished his Michigan State career among the Spartan’s all-time leaders in receptions (sixth with 147), touchdown catches (tied for seventh with 18) and receiving yards (12th with 2,069).
A birthday to remember
On April 28th, 2023 one of the most historic franchises in all of sports made sure that the Naperville native’s 23rd birthday would be unforgettable.
In his first media call as a member of the Packers, Reed mentioned that it was the best birthday he had ever had.
“My girlfriend gave me some glasses. I got an Apple watch. But nothing tops this,” said Reed. “This is all I could ever ask for. This is all I ever wanted forever in my life. So, this is a blessing.”
The 5’11 pass catcher is an exciting weapon for new Packers starting quarterback Jordan Love. He should have plenty of opportunities to see the field right away alongside second-year receivers Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs.
A lifelong connection with Payton Thorne
Reed has spent most of his football life catching passes from fellow Naperville Central graduate, Payton Thorne. The two played youth football together, and were teammates at Metea Valley, Naperville Central and Michigan State. Thorne, who has been the starting quarterback for the Spartans for the past two seasons, was in attendance at Reed’s draft party when the call came in that his NFL dreams were becoming a reality.
Jayden Reed hopes to become fourth Naperville Central Redhawk to win a Super Bowl in the NFL, following head coach Sean Payton with the New Orleans Saints in 2009, tight end Owen Daniels with the Denver Broncos in 2015 and tight end Cameron Brate with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2020.