Here at Niners Nation, we're presenting a series called "90-in-90". We'll be looking at every player on the 49ers offseason roster, one player per post, from now until the start of training camp.
The 49ers begin their mandatory minicamp, so why not take a look at a guy we'll all be tracking the next three days, and all through training camp?
The 49ers traded up in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft to select LSU safety Eric Reid with the No. 18 selection. The 49ers had a decided need at safety with Dashon Goldson departing; they had a guy in mind, and they aggressively moved up to get him. The 49ers traded first-round picks with the Dallas Cowboys, and made up the difference with a third round pick. If Reid pans out as the 49ers starting safety over the next 5-10 years, I'd say that deal will be a steal.
Reid played in 39 games at LSU, and started the final 29, earning various All-American honors in his final two seasons before departing after his junior year. At the NFL Combine, Reid measured in at 6'1, 213 pounds. He ran a 4.49-second 40, had a 40 1/2" vertical jump, and benched 225 pounds 17 times.
Nick Chiamardas put together a scouting report on Reid last month. His strengths include aggressive, physical play, ball skills and his ability to read and react. His weaknesses include his one-on-one cover skills, his tackling technique, and his penchant to sometimes get overly aggressive on plays. The aggressiveness reads somewhat similar to Dashon Goldson, the safety he will be looking to replace. Goldson could get over-aggressive and take himself out of plays. Ed Donatell will likely be spending plenty of time working with Reid to improve on that.
What to expect in 2013
Reid should end up as the starting free safety when Week 1 of the regular season arrives. He was working primarily with the second team at the start of OTAs, but recently he started rotating in with the first team defense. He has made it clear how much he is studying the playbook and looking to improve, and I suspect he'll be the first team safety when training camp commences.
Once in that starting spot, it will be interesting to see how he reacts to the big stage. He is a talented athlete, and a hard worker. That being said, he has plenty to learn about being a safety at the NFL level, and it will be a challenge week in and week out this season. I expect we will see him make some great, highlight reel plays, but I also think we'll see mental mistakes as Reid learns the intricacies of being an NFL safety.
Ideally, he will improve as the season wears on. At the same time, there is that rookie wall to consider. If he is in as the starting free safety, the final month-and-a-half will be worth tracking particularly close. This is not to say he will hit a rookie wall, but it should surprise nobody if it does happen.
Odds of making the roster
Obviously he's making the team, but it will be more about his role coming out of the gate. I do think he will earn the starting free safety spot, but it will not simply be handed to him. He will need to show some things in training camp to emerge past C.J. Spillman, Craig Dahl, Trenton Robinson and Michael Thomas. I think this will happen, but the early part of camp will tell us a lot about what the 49ers think of Reid's starting chances.