Make no mistake about it. The drafting of Eric Reid isn't a referendum against Dashon Goldson's tenure in SF; it's actually confirmation of just how important his style of play was to the 49ers. Just read what they said about Goldson when he was drafted back in 2007 in the 4th round by the 49ers:
"Positive: Physical, well-built safety who excels defending the run. Disciplined, stays with assignments and is constantly around the ball. Diagnoses the action, squares into ball carriers and wraps up. Nicely times pass defenses, positioning himself against the opponent to make a play on the ball.
And how did Goldson's career play out in SF? He struggled to get starting time during his first two years with the team, but in his third year he blossomed into a tackling, ball-hawking, machine. And in his final two years with the 49ers, he'd developed a feared reputation among receivers that earned him two Pro Bowl nominations.
So how does Reid's style of play compare in scouting reports?
"...Reid brings the size, athleticism, intelligence and toughness to become an impact player in coverage (14 passes defended in the last two seasons) as well as against the run (91 total tackles) at the next level. The junior can get too overaggressive with his angles, but if Reid can rein in the athleticism, he has plenty of range to make plays all over the field."
"Possesses the prototypical frame for the position, boasting wide shoulders, long arms and a tapered frame. Reid is a fantastic downhill athlete with quick read-and-react ability to attack the play with steam spurting from his ears. He might be the explosive hitter from the safety position in the 2013 draft, closing with the speed and physicality of a linebacker rather than a defensive back.....He is a bit stiff in coverage and can be beaten by quicker slot receivers."
In sum, both were projected as big, physical, ball-hawking, safeties that needed to develop their coverage skills. Hopefully the 49ers can integrate Reid into a starting role more quickly than they did with Goldson five years ago, but with veteran safeties like Craig Dahl and CJ Spillman on the roster, they may ease Reid into that role over the course of the season. In any case, Reid is a welcome addition to a physical 49ers defense.