With the San Francisco 49ers set to open their rookie minicamp on May 10-12, it will be the first time these rookies will floss their red and gold apparel. And although many of these rookies will be positioning themselves to make the practice squad, players such as FS Eric Reid will have the tough task of filling the void left by All-Pro FS Dashon Goldson. Unlike last year’s first-round pick WR A.J. Jenkins, Reid will not have the luxury of learning behind a star studded depth chart, instead he will be thrown to the wolves. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing, back in 2000 the Niners had two rookie starters in CB Ahmed Plummer and CB Jason Webster. Both of those players proved to be solid starters for the next five years, and despite making rookie mistakes had little to no mental lapses. And I see the same qualities in Reid.
Another player worth noting is DE Tank Carradine. This sleeping giant was a draft day steal in the second-round, and has the “wow” factor the 49ers were looking for. He has a rare blend of speed and strength to be a three down player in this league. He has an array of pass rush moves that range from a brute bull-rush to a violent swim move. Do not be surprised if Carradine bites into DE Ray McDonald’s playing time, as he is a more gifted physical specimen.
Whether these rookies will be added to the practice squad or 53-man roster, one thing is for sure, these rookies will need to grasp the Niners complex playbook, if they hope to have any chance of playing in an NFL game.