The San Francisco 49ers have officially named Eric Reid the starting free safety for week one and years to come. That’s exactly what Jim Harbaugh and Trent Balkee intended to do with Reid when they drafted him out of Louisiana State University. The 49ers traded down in a deal with the Dallas Cowboys that sent pick 31 of the first round to the Cowboys and the No. 74 overall pick in return for the 18th pick in the first round, in which the 49ers plucked LSU Safety Eric Reid. From day one Eric Reid stepped into camp the 49ers were moving forward from their Dashon Goldston days, as Reid was immediately being implanted into the defense as a starter, learning from the likes of veteran Dante Whitner every step of the way. In fact it was quite early in camp when the 49ers coaching staff entrusted Eric Reid to be a signal caller, calling out plays, and even learning to play strong safety, barring any injuries the 49ers can quickly adjust and remain intact as a unit.
Eric Reid possesses the range needed for deep threats; something the 49ers fell susceptible to late last season. He is tuff against the run, and has shown this preseason that he can lay the hat too. Many critics questioned his first step on deep balls thrown his way in college, but that has not been a problem for Reid thus far, as he has shown great recovery speed and coverage skills. The rookie is ready to play and has earned his starting role, and this is exactly what the 49ers wanted; what they needed.
Reid provides the 49ers with an athletic, versatile safety, able to cover tight ends, play center field, and make tackles in the open field. With a mixture of size, speed and tackling ability Reid was a solid pick for the 49ers. Reid is an on the field leader with a knack for being around the football, an aggressive style that will mesh well with Donte Whitner and the rest of the 49ers defense. We should have known when 49ers legend Ronnie Lott was comparing Eric Reid to himself that the 49ers had selected the real deal. Now it is time to see what the rookie can do in the regular season against a tuff division, and opposing quarterbacks vying to take a shot at the new guy; my prediction is they will learn real fast that Eric Reid can play, and this defense hasn’t missed a beat.