Keith Reiser Taking Over Starting Job For 49ers


Keith Reiser who? Don’t worry, you won’t be blamed if the name doesn’t exactly ring any bells.

More from Golden Gate Sports

The San Francisco 49ers took a big hit in the secondary this offseason when both starting cornerbacks left via free agency. Chris Culliver bolted for the Washington Redskins who offered a contract that gave him $16 million guaranteed. Perrish Cox signed with the Titans on a less eye-popping contract, but he did receive a $2.5 million signing bonus.

Money aside, it seems as if both corners are walking into ideal situations. Culliver will be the no doubt number one corner in Washington. Not only being a starter, snagging a contract with $16 million guaranteed was too good to be true for Culliver. For Cox, the Titans already have Jason McCourty o the roster — who will remain the number one — but Cox will be a definite starter and will look to prove he was worth the investment.

While San Francisco’s former corners have landed on some pretty solid ground, the 49ers seem to be in a sticky situation. Anytime you lose your two starting corners it is expected that your secondary is going to take a big hit. But the 49ers have to overcome that and will look to put a capable pairing at corner in 2015.

Right now, it seems as if the only guaranteed starter at corner is Tramaine Brock. Brock has spent five years with the 49ers, but has only appeared in 49 out of a possible 80 games — and has only started nine. He didn’t play much last year due to injury, appearing in only three games, but when healthy in 2013, he started seven games and racked up five interceptions, which ranked tied for fifth.

More from San Francisco 49ers

Brock will need to be able to stay on the field, but he looks like he is locked into a starting job. He can’t do it all on his own though, and the cornerback playing next to him will have to shine.

The expected starter was supposed to be Shareece Wright, who the team signed to a one year deal during free agency. Wright was a surprise signing by GM Trent Baalke, not because the team didn’t need depth, it is because Wright was one of the worst cornerbacks in 2014.

According to, a site based on analyzing advanced football statistics, Wright finished tied for dead last in Positive Win Probability. That means that Wright provided the least amount of production towards helping his team win in 2014 among all NFL cornerbacks.

Live Feed

3 Quarterbacks the Chicago Bears should have signed instead of Trace McSorley
3 Quarterbacks the Chicago Bears should have signed instead of Trace McSorley /

Bear Goggles On

  • Colin Kaepernick writes letter to NY Jets asking to be signedThe Jet Press
  • Polarizing former NFL QB already reached out to the New York Jets Musket Fire
  • NFL Rumors: Colin Kaepernick reaches out to Jets after Aaron Rodgers injuryFanSided
  • The NY Jets shouldn't waste their time with Colin KaepernickThe Jet Press
  • 10 biggest trade mistakes for the Denver Broncos in franchise historyPredominantly Orange
  • So although Wright was expected to start, there could be a new sheriff in town. Most would assume that a guy like Chris Cook or Dontae Johnson to take over, but according to CSN Bay Area, that is not the case.

    Matt Maiocco says that Keith Reaser, an undrafted free agent out of Florida Atlantic, has taken over the starting left cornerback job.

    "“And impressive first year- year player Keith Reaser continued to work with the first unit at left cornerback. Reaser has taken over for veteran Shareece Wright, who has lined up with that squad since the opening of camp.” – Matt Maioco"

    Unless you’re an extremely diehard 49ers fan, you have most likely not heard of Reaser. Most undrafted free agents barely make the squad, let alone start, so Reaser’s uprising is a surprising outlier.

    Reaser played four years at Florida Atlantic. During his time there, he was able to rack up 157 total tackles — seven for a loss — five interceptions, and 19 passes defended.

    Going into the 2014 NFL combine, Reaser was not able to perform many of the events due to a torn ACL. The one he did participate in was the bench press, which at 22 reps,  put him in second place for the entire defensive back class. wrote that Reaser’s strengths were that he has a solid build and great football I.Q. It went on to say that he has smooth hips and a quick pedal, and that he was a great leader.

    For weaknesses, most of his problems come from not being aggressive enough. But one way to get more aggressive is to become the starter of an NFL team. Hopefully being promoted to the starting spot, after being undrafted, will only boost his confidence, drive and aggressiveness.

    For his strengths, Reaser is somewhat undersized at his 5’10” frame, but he has obvious strength that he can make up for that with. He is an above average athlete, and has great intelligence. Athleticism can’t be taught, but Reaser having great knowledge of what he needs to be doing and where he needs to be will only benefit him and the team down the road.

    Reaser seems to have caught the eye of the coaches as he has already ascended into a starting role. The fact that he not only has all the physical tools to become a starter is not only interesting, but it is the fact that the 49ers were the only team to take a chance on him that makes his story downright compelling.

    Fifteen undrafted free agents are currently in the NFL Hall of Fame. Among them Warren Moon, Night Train Lane, Lou Groza, and Willie Brown. Currently, in the NFL players like the Texans’ Arian Foster, Chargers’ Antonio Gates, and Dolphins’ Brent Grimes all went undrafted.

    What they all had in common is that they were outliers. No one expected them to not only beat the odds, but to make the team and then win a starting job. No one expected them to make it to Pro Bowls, Super Bowls, or even the Hall of Fame; but that is what they did. All of those players knew what it took to be an NFL pro and they took that opportunity to heart.

    Reaser is not on the same level of playing field as any of those players yet, but he has the opportunity. All of those players started somewhere, and took advantage of the opportunity they were given.

    Not just for Reaser alone, but his standout potential is a blessing for the 49ers organization.

    Reaser is making just $596,200 this season. That is extremely low on a starters rate. As a basis of comparison, Wright will be making $3,000,000 this season. Wright is only on a one year deal, so if he is truly outplaying Wright then they will have Reaser on a contract much more favorable than Wright’s.

    Reaser’s ascension shines a bright spotlight on the 49ers dreadful offseason. With so many losses, Reaser going from undrafted free agent to starting gives the 49ers a nice silver lining. He will definitely be a player most 49er’ fans root for — assuming his play matches his story.

    Reaser still has a long way to go. Winning a starting spot is one thing, but maintaining that spot and continuing to produce is another. But he has his chance, and he will now start his journey to be the next Gates, Foster, or even Moon.

    Next: Who Will Step Up and be the 49ers Third Receiver?