Back in April the San Francisco 49ers moved up to the 18th pick in the first round to take safety Eric Reid and a ton of draft experts thought it was a poor decision. Reid’s play had declined noticeably in 2012 at LSU and was no longer considered one of the top five safeties in the draft, let alone the second. With the season over, Reid certainly made all those experts look pretty silly. After the 49ers let safety Dashon Goldson change teams via free agency, many expected the hole he left would be very difficult to fill. Reid stepped in beside Donte Whitner and made a name for himself. His athleticism allowed for some very good plays throughout the season. That is not to say he can’t improve.
One of my favorite aspects of Reid’s play revolves around his aggressiveness and willingness to make the hard hit. Unfortunately, this also leads to lapses. Probably his most galling lapse was blowing a perfect opportunity to stop Marshawn Lynch from scoring on his 40-yard touchdown run. He had been in perfect position and then overcommitted and found himself staring at Lynch’s name all the way into the end zone.
Twice in his rookie season Reid managed to make a hit and end up with a concussion in the process. Part of progressing as a player is learning how to use your body in a way that gets the job done, and protects both players while still accomplishing the proper task. If Reid can take his head out of his tackles and hits, there’s no reason he can’t play a whole season, since he recovered in just one week from both concussions.
All in all, once the season ended, the talent scouts for the 49ers looked like geniuses for moving up the draft Reid. His play was stellar, and if it improves from season one to season two like most players do, the 49ers have at the very least, a pro-bowl safety locked up for a few years. My guess is he’ll end up All-Pro before his rookie contract is up, if he can keep progressing.