The 49ers risked letting cornerback D.J. Reed go earlier this season when the team was suffering from injuries. Head coach Kyle Shanahan spoke about the decision to let Reed go on Wednesday:
“We had an unprecedented number of guys at that time who were on PUP. We couldn’t have more with the roster rules and how many we had to have down. We didn’t know if he was going to be able to come back during the year from it. There were a lot of decisions that went into it.
We were hoping we wouldn’t lose him. Obviously, Seattle took him, and they got a great player because of it. He’s a guy I really like a lot, as a person and a player. That’s something I wish we could have had back.”
At the time, it was a risk since the 49ers had zero cornerbacks under contract after 2020. Reed didn’t get a chance to showcase his skills for San Francisco, but he’s taken full advantage in Seattle. The first time Reed got onto the field this season game in Week 8, where he intercepted a Jimmy Garoppolo pass as the 49ers were driving. Since then, Reed has started every game for the Seahawks, including on the outside.
On a conference call, Seattle head coach Pete Carroll said Reed came in and “he immediately showed his stuff.” Caroll added:
“We hoped he’d be a nickel and maybe a safety or a corner. We weren’t sure. We’d seen him play those spots, but we weren’t sure how he’d fit. But as soon as we got him on the field, we just loved the guy and his natural instincts and his super-good quickness. Just his style and awareness was really obvious, so he jumped right in. He played nickel and played well. We moved him to corner because we needed to, and he played well, and he’s held onto his job.”
The NFL is all about opportunity, and Reed has made the most of his. He had another interception last week against Washington:
Clip 3:— Matty F. Brown (@mattyfbrown) December 30, 2020
Celebrations after D.J. Reed's INT are great!
But this is fascinating as it demonstrates the relationship between the SS + the down LB in Seattle's bear front system.
"Hey hey hey [?] motions you go sky, on you,” Adams told K.J. Wright pre-snappic.twitter.com/0LQWSx9AEO
The week before, Reed played his best game of the season, and I’d argue that it was one of the best “effort” games from a defensive back all season in the NFL. Check this clip out:
idk i might just be overhyped, but after Sundays game i feel like dj reed has the passion and decision making we need on the field pic.twitter.com/QmXVdxt25u— MarkEazy (@MiniiJay) December 22, 2020
Reed’s been a sure tackler, as he’s only missed three all season. He’s been an effective blitzer, run defender and has also broken up four passes in coverage. For good measure, he’s the Seahawks punt and kick returner. On 38 targets, Reed has allowed 7.1 yards per target, per Sports Info Solutions.
I’ve mentioned before how Sports Info Solutions has their version of “defensive runs saved” that’s called “total points saved.” In eight starts, Reed’s 25 total points saved is higher than Stephon Gilmore, Antoine Winfield Jr., Patrick Peterson, Byron Jones, and Marshon Lattimore.
The front office gambled, and that gamble did not pay off. Reed is under contract through 2021 and is 25-years-old with positional flexibility and special teams value. Shanahan has every reason to feel sick after losing a player like Reed.