Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports
When it comes to the secondary, Eric Reid is looking like the 49ers' building block of the future.
Hats off to linebacker Corey Lemonier, safety Eric Reid and cornerback Tramaine Brock.
Three young defensive jewels who have played lights out after having to step in for proven players like Aldon Smith, Dashon Goldson and Chris Culliver.
Each of these marquee performers from last year is unavailable to the 49ers, resulting in significant changeover on the defensive side of the ball.
Nevertheless, these fairly raw and untested players have not only avoided being liabilities, but they’re looking like assets.
Lemonier has been in full-blown attack mode, finally being set loose as the pure pass-rusher the 49ers believed they were getting when they traded up to draft him in the third round out of the University of Auburn.
In his third game as a featured player, he accounted for a sack, a safety and a forced fumble, and he’s just getting warmed up.
Meanwhile, rookie safety Eric Reid, the No. 18 overall pick in the draft, is looking like a surefire candidate for defensive rookie of the year honors. He has been a tackling machine, delivering clean, tone-setting blows and helping tremendously when it comes to run support.
Reid also came away with his third career interception, already matching Goldson’s total from the 2012 season. It was his second near pick-six this year.
Then there is third-featured cornerback Tramaine Brock, who has been steadily contributing on the back end of a top-rated pass defense. With down performances by Tarell Brown and Carlos Rogers, it was actually Brock who was the best-looking corner out there on Sunday.
He wasn’t picked on and didn’t have his name called for any of the wrong reasons.
The depth on the defensive side of the football—particularly this organization’s ability to scout and build that facet of the team—is truly remarkable. All of these guys have not only stepped up this year, but look to have the makings of longtime players for this defense.