(Photo: 49ers.com)

San Francisco 49ers: Why Eric Reid Will Become a Shutdown Safety

This past week, the San Francisco 49ers signed 1st round pick (18th overall) Eric Reid to a four-year deal.

Not only is Reid preparing for his first NFL training camp, but the former All-American at LSU will fill the void of hard-hitting All-Pro Dashon Goldson. Although Reid has yet to play a single down in the NFL, he has the potential to become a shutdown safety.

Physical specimen

Standing at 6’1” and weighing 214lbs, Reid ran a 4.53 40-yard dash and has a 40-inch vertical.  For starters, Reid possesses the physical tools to play man and defend deep coverage. That being said, Reid, likely any other rookie, will have a steep learning curve. He will get burned by veteran receivers, and he will overplay some routes; nonetheless, his developed physical strength, speed, and intelligence are still his best assets.

Like Goldson, if a bigger receiver or tightend comes down the middle of the field, Reid will have no hesitation to lay a licking on him.

Intelligent and well-balanced

At first glance, Reid may not look that intimidating, however, he is a heavy-hitter, plays aggressively, and is an intelligent player.  Reid was on the SEC Academic Honor Roll, and he has the intelligence to master the playbook and read and react in zone coverage.

He is an every-down safety, capable of providing more pressure on run defense and sitting back and lurking on passes. If he’s close to the receiver, Reid will make a play for the ball, and he also will not miss too many tackles.

A lot of young safeties in the league possess some but not all the necessary skills. Some can run toe-to-toe with any receiver but cannot tackle, and others have all the strength to tackle but no speed to get anywhere near the receiver. Reid has a great balance of size and speed.

Just do your job

Reid is not the second coming of Jesus Christ, and he does not have to be. The 49ers have one of the best front sevens in the NFL and veteran leadership in the secondary with Donte Whitner, Carlos Rogers, and Nnamdi Asomugha.

As long as he does not surrender the big and/or bone-headed plays, Reid will definitely be capable of filling in for Goldson, and through time, he can become a shutdown safety and an All-Pro.

Tags: Dashon Goldson Eric Reid LSU Safety San Francisco 49ers

  • loverpoint

    One thing people need to stop doing is using Dashon Goldson as the type of player 49er fans want Reid to emulate. Goldson will never be in the HOF.

    Height: 6’1″- good height for a safety
    Weight: 215 – OK but 10 more pounds would be better
    Speed: 4.53 / 40 – decent speed

    THe greatest intangible for a safety is Smarts, otherwise known as intuition, These are the players that are always near the ball. A smart player will not commit stupid penalties such as late hits, this was my major problem with Goldson was his stupid penalties.

    The one thing Fangio demands of all his defensive players is that they be good tacklers. They always say that to be a good QB a player must be able to make all the throws. Good defenders must be able to make all the tackles.

    Coverage skills- sure it is nice if the player has the great speed, good size, but as some fans remember those do not make for a great defender, look at Taylor Mays, He was a combine phenom and a true physical specimen, and he came from a school that was known for turning out great Safeties, USC. Despite having the great resume he is only a mediocre football player.

    If Reid cannot meet the criteria above, he will not play much in the 2013 season. If he cannot reach that level in his second year then the 49ers will have to start looking for his replacement. Over the last 10-15 years the 49ers have done a pretty dismal job of drafting DB’s and WR’s.