Former FAU cornerback Keith Reaser drafted to San Francisco 49ers


Ryan Murphy

Keith Reaser played just six games of his season, before his ACL tear. Photo by Ryan Murphy

As of today, Florida Atlantic football is represented on one of the premier teams in the National Football League. The San Francisco 49ers selected former FAU cornerback Keith Reaser as the 13th pick in the fifth round of the 2014 NFL Draft.

Reaser suffered a season-ending ACL tear in an Oct. 5 win over the University of Alabama-Birmingham. Another knee injury plagued him around NFL Combine time, and he was seen on crutches as recently as this year’s FAU Spring Game on April 5.

Reaser does have one trait that attracts NFL teams — tremendous top-end speed. He ran a sub 4.4 40-yard dash in the spring of 2013.

A cousin of the late former Redskins safety Sean Taylor, Reaser is the sixth Owl presently in the NFL.

Quarterback Rusty Smith was selected by the Tennessee Titans in the sixth round of the 2010 draft. Lestar Jean went undrafted in 2011, but the wide receiver was signed by the Houston Texans. Tight end Rob Housler was selected by the Arizona Cardinals in the third round of the 2011 draft. The Washington Redskins selected running back Alfred Morris in the sixth round of the 2012 NFL Draft, and linebacker David Hinds signed with the Miami Dolphins after going undrafted in 2011.

He will likely be placed on the regular season physically unable to perform list, meaning he cannot practice or play at all for the first six weeks of the coming NFL season. This will give Reaser the opportunity to bring his knee back to playing form and to get himself back into game shape.

San Francisco stockpiled its draft picks for the second straight year, meaning they have the luxury of drafting players and not expecting them to perform right away.

They selected former South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore (who also had knee issues) in the fourth round of last year’s draft, placed him on the physically unable to perform list and held him out of games for the entirety of the past season.

Reaser will probably take a similar route to that of Lattimore. He’ll have the opportunity to make sure his knee is fully ready for a rigorous 2015 season and to get himself back into game shape. The knee injury has understandably hampered Reaser’s ability to run for the time being. With a year off, he should come back at full strength and ready to add talent to an already formidable Niners defense.