Eric Reid came into the season opener on the back of an impressive training camp and preseason in which he proved to be flawlessly integrated into the first team defensive unit by picking up the defensive schemes and showing an overall maturity for a rookie safety. Having won his way into the starter role, Reid’s first major test as a starting strong safety for the San Francisco 49ers in the NFL came on Sunday against the Green Bay Packers.
Despite having missed on a couple of tackles, Reid had a very good game in his pro debut as he finished with seven tackles and had an interception in which he showed great hands and concentration on a pass that was deflected by a Packers receiver. Aside from the statistics, what stood out was that Reid played like a multi-year veteran who had been playing for the 49ers for the last few years.
It was assumed all along that when Reid was drafted with the 18th overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, he was going to take over and assume the starting strong safety role from the departed Dashon Goldson. As per the way the 49ers operate and run the team, Reid was going to have to earn his way to being named the starting strong safety for the Week 1 game against the Packers, and he did.
In the game against the Packers, Reid never looked like he was lost or out of position at any point during the game. It was clear that he had a clear understanding of his assignments, of where he was expected to be lined up depending on which defensive scheme the 49ers were running, and played with confidence as a result. One of the things which made many draft experts claim Reid was the best safety in this past year’s draft was his playmaking ability and ability to be around the ball. His second quarter interception was a great example of how Reid was able to be at the right place at the right time to be in position to make an interception.
While there is still a lot of the season left, Eric Reid has already shown in one game why he was the 49ers first round draft pick and why he was so highly thought of coming out of college. Reid was not overwhelmed by the speed of the NFL game and just as importantly showed he was comfortable playing in the 49ers’ defensive scheme.