When the San Francisco 49ers traded up in the first-round to draft FS Eric Reid (LSU), it was a strategic move to replace All-Pro FS Dashon Goldson (Tampa Bay Buccaneers). Whether they were actually targeting S Kenny Vaccaro (Texas) and decided to settle on Reid remains to be seen, however Reid will now have every opportunity to step in the starting role.
Unlike last year’s first-round pick WR A.J. Jenkins, there is little depth at the safety position, meaning Reid will be thrown to the fire. A trial by error, learn as you go, type of experience, Reid will have to adjust quickly to the NFL, if he hopes to have any chance of success. The game is faster and the players are smarter, making the transition a tough one.
One strength working in Reid’s favor is that he is an NFL ready rookie. He is very smart, physical, and aggressive, similar to another former first-round pick CB Ahmed Plummer (2000), Reid has the football instincts to succeed at the next level. And although he may not be the best ballhawk in the draft, he more than makes up for it with his football IQ. A smart player, Reid will not have the mental lapses in coverage.
Even though Reid possesses the natural instincts, will that be enough to alleviate the loss of Goldson? The verdict is still out, as training camp and OTA’s have yet to begin, but make no mistake, the Reid watch is already in motion.
Let’s just hope he does not have the learning curve of Jenkins, as the Niners simply can’t afford that type of waiting period.