The San Francisco 49ers knew what they wanted.
They also knew they had the pieces to make it happen.
San Francisco moved up in the draft as predicted by Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports, trading with the Dallas Cowboys to move up to the 18th overall pick, sending their own 31st pick and a third-round pick in exchange. (cbssports.com)
The 49ers then drafted safety Eric Reid out of LSU.
Reid fills an immediate need for San Francisco. After the departure of Pro Bowl safety Dashon Goldson to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers via free agency, the 49ers needed to look toward the draft to upgrade their secondary.
After being drafted, Reid was excited to become part of a 49ers franchise that is on the cusp of winning a Super Bowl.
He commented about San Francisco's defense by saying:
How many guys are just phenomenal players. I mean you name it and they’re the reason they got to the Super Bowl. As the saying goes, defense wins championships. They didn’t win it this past year, but I look forward to getting to California and helping them get back to the Super Bowl. (via 49ers.com)
The 49ers certainly could have done worse than drafting Reid in the first round. By moving up in the draft to the 18th overall pick, the 49ers ensured they would get their hands on the talented defensive back. Yet there may be questions surrounding whether or not the 49ers were too aggressive with their first-round move.
Reid was ranked as the 32nd overall prospect by CBS Sports, and it is possible the 49ers could have sat back and waited to see whether or not Reid would have fallen to them with their original 31st overall pick before the trade. Considering how the rest of the round fell into place and the only other safety to go before San Francisco picked was Kenny Vaccaro, it is plausible the 49ers could have saved the transaction or used it to address another need.
San Francisco now only has one pick in the third round (#93 overall) after the deal. In a draft lacking in true top-tier talent but unusually strong in depth, the 49ers may have been better suited to hold onto that third-round pick.
Yet the 49ers have the ammunition to work with and it is feasible that they could add another third-round pick via trades to address needs they see as essential. San Francisco may be looking to add a tight end or a nose tackle in the third.
Pete Prisco of CBS Sports commented on the transaction by saying, "I like Reid to step in and start right away. This move up is aggressive by a team that could afford it. Solid job." (cbssports.com)
Even if the deal is considered a little pricey, the 49ers were intent to not let Reid fall any further in the draft. Such was stated by 49ers' head coach Jim Harbaugh.
"Unanimous decision that Eric Reid was our pick," Harbaugh said on the 49ers' website. (via foxnews.com)
This contradicts reports that San Francisco was interested in trading up in the first round to acquire a talented defensive lineman as stated earlier by Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports. Yet considering how rarely Coach Harbaugh and the 49ers' front office reveal their true intentions, the move really does not come as much of a surprise.
San Francisco will still look to add talent on its defensive line, potentially using one of its two second-round picks to do so.
Matt Barrows, 49ers insider writing for the Sacramento Bee, appeared this morning on KNBR, the 49ers' flagship radio station, and stated that San Francisco could draft former Florida State defensive end Cornellius Carradine or former Alabama defensive tackle Jesse Williams early in the second round, alleviating some of the need the 49ers have on their defensive line (knbr.com).
If the 49ers are able to draft either one of those two lineman with the second pick in the round, making the transaction to draft Reid in the first seems to be a no-brainer.
Reid will now enter San Francisco's camp, likely competing to start with the recently signed safety Craig Dahl. Reid also undoubtedly fills the void left by Goldson. He has the physical attributes to play the position, he is a hard-hitter and he can cover tight ends.
He will also be much cheaper than Goldson would have been if the 49ers re-signed him.
For a team on the brink of winning a Super Bowl, adding Reid makes perfect sense. Who cares if the price to move up in the first round and draft him was a little steep. The 49ers wanted Reid, and he will be an essential part of a dynamic San Francisco defense. They also had the means to make such a transaction happen.
There is nothing wrong with that.
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