With all the hype surrounding two of the fastest rising stars in both Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson and San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick, one player in particular has flown under the radar in first-round pick (No. 18) FS Eric Reid. Last week, Reid made a huge statement in his NFL debut, as he played extremely well while looking like a poised veteran in the secondary. A player that had huge shoes to fill with the departure of FS Dashon Goldson, Reid finished his first NFL game in stellar fashion, as he racked up 7 solo tackles, one interception, and one pass defensed.
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What made his rookie debut even more impressive is the fact that he was facing the 2011 NFL MVP in Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers. The player known for his “discount double check” celebration, Reid made sure the only thing he wished he double checked was his decision making, as Reid picked him off in the second quarter on a deep pass intended for TE Jermichael Finley.
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This week Reid faces another challenge, as he will face his first mobile quarterback in Wilson. A player similar to Kaepernick’s skill-set, as he can beat you with both his arm and legs, Reid will have his hands full on Sunday. In fact, Seattle even has designed rollouts and plays that require Wilson to scramble. A savvy player as Wilson is most dangerous when on the run, as he keeps his eyes down field, Reid will need to use his combination of high football IQ and knack for not making the same mistake twice, as he will likely have some lapses on Sunday, which is expected. As 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh said:
He’s been really diligent, on it from the time he got here. It’s just the way he’s wired. He’s not an error repeater. He takes great pride in his own personal performance and he’s really smart. Ever since he’s been here he’s picked things up extremely fast, and it’s early on.
No defensive back can cover a receiver forever, but it may feel like forever for Reid when he is trying to stick to his assignment while Wilson runs around in the back field. Which is why the 49ers front seven must apply pressure consistently to help out their secondary. However, if the 49ers front seven is unable to get pressure, Reid can more than hold his own, as he has the athleticism to bail him out of poor reads while possessing the knack for laying the legal big hit when the opportunity presents itself.
Look for Reid to take another step forward in his development, as he blends pass coverage with run support in a matchup that will include many firsts, as it will be Reid’s first game against a running quarterback, first away game, first divisional game and possibly his first forced fumble in this most exciting week two NFL game.
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