Reed is a couple inches shorter and 20 pounds lighter than his defensive counterparts, but has used football savvy and a relentless work ethic to compensate for his smallish size for a defensive end.
"I need to work harder than the next guy," Reed told Seattlepi.com. "I need to know the playbook better than the next guy. I need to know the other team better than the next guy. I understand that. It's never going to be easy for me, but that's how it's always been."
The 21-year-old Southern California native was not invited to the NFL Scouting Combine in February, even though he finished his tenure with the Ducks as the school's career sacks leader with 29.5 sacks, and earned first-team, All-American honors.
However, most league scouts considered Reed too small to play up front in the NFL and not fast enough to play linebacker.
But Ruston Webster, vice president of player personnel, saw something in Reed.
"We watched a lot of Oregon film here, and every time you turn it on it seems like Nick gets two sacks," Webster said. "He is just a relentless pass rusher who has a great feel for doing it, and there is a premium on that."
Reed is unlikely to make the active roster. Seattle has depth at defensive end, with Patrick Kerney, Darryl Tapp, Lawrence Jackson and Baraka Atkins all returning, and new addition from Detroit Cory Redding expected to play some defensive end as well.
However, Reed should wind up on the team's practice squad, which will give him a chance to develop the necessary bulk to play defensive end at this level.