SANTA CLARA — The San Francisco 49ers wasted no time drafting a replacement for All Pro free safety Dashon Goldson, who signed a five-year, $41.25 million contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this offseason. The 49ers traded their first round pick — No. 31 overall — and their first third-round pick — No. 74 — to the Dallas Cowboys for the 18th pick, and drafted LSU free safety, Eric Reid.
“It's something I was visiting with (Cowboys' COO) Stephen Jones about the last couple of days,” 49ers' general manager Trent Baalke said Thursday evening. “We had worked out the details this morning.”
Reid (6-1, 213 pounds) is almost the exact size as Goldson, and Reid is faster and more explosive — he ran a 4.49 40-yard dash and jumped a 40.5-inch vertical leap at the combine. Those are great athletic numbers for a safety.
He had 167 tackles over the past two seasons at LSU. He also intercepted six passes and broke up 11 passes over his three-year collegiate career. He has the potential to become a better player than Goldson, and Goldson is one of the best free safeties in the NFL.
NFL.com gives Reid a grade of 82.5. Under strengths, it lists his ability to hit receivers running across the middle of the field, his ability to run step-for-step with tight ends and his ability to jump high and break up passes. Under weakness, it lists over-aggressiveness in pass coverage.
“I think I'm a very cerebral player,” Reid told Bay Area reporters on a conference call Thursday evening. “I pride myself on knowing the defense. I pride myself on being able to get the guys on the team lined up, being a great teammate and also doing my job.”
He also prides himself on hitting: “We play with sincere contact at LSU, so it's definitely something I have on my resume as a football player.”
Here's how Jim Harbaugh broke down Reid on Thursday evening: “He can play down in the box. He has great contact courage. He likes to get from Point A to Point B and go hit somebody. He's an effective tackler and he's a hard-hitting tackler, but he also plays the deep part of the field extremely well. He can track the football, has the speed to go and be a range safety, cover ground. He's got long arms, big wingspan, gets guys down when he tackles but also can make plays on the ball when it's thrown up in there air.”