In a Super Bowl or bust season, the San Francisco 49ers are starting a rookie at free safety. Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio made the announcement at Tuesday’s press conference after Eric Reid, again, flashed against the Minnesota Vikings Sunday.
With the departure of Dashon Goldson to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, there was no one who could step in right away and play. Thus, the 49ers wasted no time in attempting to fill the void, picking up Craig Dahl in free agency, and drafting Reid No. 18 overall. Just like the perceived weakness at wide receiver, the 49ers have admirably filled a need with a breadth of talented options.
Dahl and Reid have been locked in a battle for the starting free safety spot all preseason, and while Dahl looked steady, Reid flashed on a number of occasions. Reid is the more physical safety of the two, and possesses excellent range and recovery speed. However, this doesn’t mean that he’s locked up the spot for the season, and Reid knows it.
“It’s obviously good news for me”, Reid said to the Associated Press. “I’m going to keep working and try and keep the spot.”
On a team with realistic championship aspirations, a lot is going to be expected out of Reid from game one on. If he struggles early, the 49ers now have one of the best backup safeties in the league behind him. Dahl has shown he is very solid in starting four seasons for the St. Louis Rams,and knows the division and conference very well. Fangio knows he wouldn’t lose much if he had to throw Dahl into the mix for any reason this year.
C.J. Spillman and Trenton Robinson were also competing for the starting free safety position this preseason, and both have been solid special teamers in their tenure with the team thus far. Look for them to be kept in that capacity this year, giving the team much-needed depth in the secondary in a pass happy league.
Click here for more on the 49ers.