Thursday, April 25, 2013

49er Draft Review: Eric Reid

1st round 18th overall- S Eric Reid, LSU

Eric Reid with his daughter LeiLani
The 49ers traded their 31st overall pick in the first round and their 74th overall pick (3rd round) to
the Dallas Cowboys in order to move up to pick 18 in the first round. With the 18th pick they selected the safety out of LSU, Eric Reid.

The 49ers came in to the draft with only one position on the team in which they were not comfortable with their starter. That position was free safety after Dashon Goldson left for Tampa Bay and more than $40 million. The 49ers signed safety Craig Dahl but he is more of a safety net and a back up. Reid will be brought in with the opportunity and expectation to be named the starting free safety on opening day.

Eric Reid was widely regarded as the second best safety in the draft class behind Kenny Vaccarro. Shortly after making the pick, Head Coach Jim Harbaugh revealed that Reid was the number one safety on the 49ers board and was considered their, "option A." Reid was recruited to Stanford when Jim Harbaugh was the head coach there, but chose LSU. This time Harbaugh gets his man, and I'm sure they're both thrilled.

Reid was an anchor of a SEC defense
Eric Reid is a safety with good size (6'1" 213 lbs.) that is still getting stronger. He is as good of a height-weight-speed combination as there was in the draft. He ran a 4.53 40 yard dash at the combine, while posting a 40.5" vertical and a 134" broad jump. He also posted 17 reps on the bench press.

In the 49ers system I think he will work out well. He has tremendous read and react ability. He often snuffs out screens and dump downs and has elite closing speed to get to the ball carrier. He has the ability to lay crushing hits as well as cut the legs out from under larger ball carriers with force. As it is with most hard hitting defensive backs, he has a tendency to lunge and miss in the open field. He also has a tendency to over pursue and allow cut back lanes, but neither of this things are much unlike Dashon Goldosn.

One area where he is already better than Goldson is man coverage ability. He is stiff in the hips when covering 1-on-1, but for a safety he covers well. Thanks to his size he is an ideal choice to cover large wide outs and tight ends which are becoming more frequent in the NFL.

His best trait may be his coverage ability
Admittedly, he does project out as more of a strong safety than he does as a free safety. This is no problem. Trent Baalke likes to do one thing in particular, and that is draft for future needs. It's possible he drafted for a future need as well as current one with Reid. Reid can start at free safety alongside Donte Whitner this year, and then at the end of this season, when Whitner is a free agent, they can move Reid to the strong safety and bring in a ball hawking free safety.

Regardless of which position Reid plays, he is a starting NFL caliber safety. He comes from s dominant defensive school in LSU which often pumps out NFL starters. With the starting staff he has around him, expect Reid to be a pro bowl caliber safety in the league for many years to come.

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