The 2014 football season will be a Super Bowl-or-bust type of year for the San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers have a deep roster from top to bottom, but they will need to piece it all together to win the Lombardi trophy. Rightfully so, a lot of attention is going to the offense and Colin Kaepernick, but there is another player that is next in line for a breakout season: Eric Reid.
The second-year free safety had a good rookie season, and he lived up to his lofty draft status. Reid was selected No.18 in the first round of the NFL Draft, and he was relied on as soon as he step foot onto the 49ers’ practice field. As a rookie, Reid was selected to the Pro Bowl, but he can still improve as a player. He will have more responsibilities this season, and he will be relied on heavily.
The 49ers have some question marks in the defensive backfield, and a breakout season from Reid will be expected. With the increase of responsibilities, Reid will take his game to the next level.
Safety has been a strong position in the 49ers’ history. Players such as Tim McDonald, Merton Hanks and Ronnie Lott helped make the position a huge staple within the organization. Reid may not be on that level as of now, but he will be there in time.
As a rookie, Reid finished the season with 77 tackles to go along with four interceptions. Reid did a masterful job filling in for DaShon Goldson, who left via free agency to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Many thought that the 49ers would miss Gholdson, but with Reid in the lineup, the defense didn’t miss a beat.
Reid showed the ability to cover and make the big hit when needed. Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio has a gem in Reid, and with the past success of former 49ers safeties Donte’ Whitner and DaShon Goldson, it makes you wonder how great Reid can actually be.
Sophomore slumps are very common in football, but I believe Reid will shake that hex. In today’s version of the NFL, the safety position is very important. With teams in a passing frenzy, it will be important for Reid to raise his level of play for next season and years to come. Reid showed flashes of greatness in his rookie season, and that will only continue as he becomes more comfortable in his second season.
Safeties such as Earl Thomas, Eric Berry, Eric Weddle and Kam Chancellor are regarded as some of the best at the safety position. By the end of the season, Reid’s name will be in that conversation as one of the premiere safeties in the NFL.