It's only been one day of offseason training activities, but enough happened yesterday that we can start to ponder what could be in the coming season. Our boys Barrows and Maiocco were out there providing plenty of coverage. That included a run down of the first team offenses. At this point, any missing first teamers were due to injury (Michael Lewis) or veteran status (Isaac Bruce).
I thought for today we would focus on Reggie Smith. It's really a continuation of yesterday's discussion about Jimmy Williams, but I wanted to move it more towards looking ahead now. Jimmy Williams was released yesterday and it seems like the writing is on the wall for Reggie Smith to get his shot as a backup safety. Mike Singletary even said it was more likely in his notebook yesterday.
Back a couple months ago, Jeff_Fuller_49 put together a FanPost titled "How About Reggie Smith at Safety?" That FanPost actually posited the theory of stick Reggie Smith out there at free safety. The addition of Curtis Taylor and the subtraction of Jimmy Williams would seem to indicate strong safety is future position. Not a shocking statement, but just wanted to make sure it was out there.
In looking at some old footage of Reggie Smith (a little YouTube suggested in the FanPost after the jump), I certainly remain intrigued by Smith's skill-set. He seems like a bigger tackling type of guy who would fit well as a strong safety. At the same time he can show a little bit of speed when need be.
I looked up some old draft scouting reports at scout.com and came across this:
An instinctive defender who plays with physicality and loves to hit, Smith is an assignment-true cornerback who has the versatility to play safety, a position that might be his home in the pros because of his lack of deep speed to run with the quicker wideouts . . . The 49ers want to try him at cornerback first because of his ability to match up with the physical receivers in the NFC West, but it's an added bonus he has the skills that could easily transition to safety. His rangy skills may quickly land him a role in secondary coverage packages.
Michael Lewis recently turned 29 and is signed through 2012. I know some people take issue with Michael Lewis, but given his role in the defense, I'm perfectly content with what he brings to the table. Reggie Smith could turn into an excellent back-up option for this season and potentially develop into a starter down the line.
Smith didn't see a lot of playing time this season, but I'm sure most of us agree he'll see a sizeable increase this season. The question is where he'll see playing time if Michael Lewis is healthy. Is he just there for depth, or do we see him getting into nickel or dime defense? After all, we've still got Tarell Brown to discuss. Or are we just getting ahead of ourselves since he hasn't actually proven he's an NFL caliber defender?