As the dust has settled on the NFL draft, we wanted to go back and take a look at some of the 49ers top draft choices and examine what they could bring to the table for the 2013 season.
We'll go ahead and start out with the top two picks, starting with first rounder Eric Reid. Obviously, if you followed the draft at all, you know the 49ers moved up 12 spots in round one in order to ensure they got the man they hope to be their replacement for DaShon Goldson. Reid is a big-hitting free safety, who excels at coming up and helping in the run game but can also drop back and do a good job in pass-coverage. He was projected to go towards the end of the first round, which makes me wonder whether the 49ers traded up with the idea of using pick 18 on Reid, or if they had someone else in their sights. Nonetheless, Reid was the choice, and I like it. I saw him play extensively in LSU's game vs. Alabama last season, and he certainly stuck out as one of the top defenders on the field. I think the best way to describe him would be "ball hawk". He's always around the ball ready to make a play, as evident by his 91 tackles in 2012. He's good in space and has good instincts. If there's an area that is a bit of a question mark with him is his speed and whether he'll be able to keep up with some of the faster receivers at the next level. Overall, I have to give them a B for this pick, as it does meet a need and Reid should be a fine NFL safety, but I do believe they could have gotten him at 30.
Eric Reid highlight video here.
With their second pick, the 49ers grabbed impressive Florida State defensive end, Cornellius "Tank" Carradine. They definitely needed to add some depth to that defensive front, and Carradine was a sound choice at the end of round two. The 6'4", 275 pound end can supply the pass rush (11 sacks in 2012) and knows how to penetrate the O-line and get in the backfield to make plays (13 TFL). I expect Reid to be starting in week one, but it also wouldn't surprise me if Carradine works his way into the lineup as well. The question for him will be his health. He's coming off a torn ACL and was limited in his draft workouts, but is expected to be ready for full participation by July. Scouts have drawn comparisons between he and Justin Tuck, so that should give you an idea of what kind of strength and power this kid plays with. If he can stay on the field and keep getting better, I think the 49ers will wind up extremely pleased with this selection down the road. Outside of the Marcus Lattimore pick, which we'll discuss later, this was my favorite pick of this draft for the 49ers.
Conellius Carradine highlight video here.