SANTA CLARA (CBS/AP) — The San Francisco 49ers have found their apparent replacement for departed free safety Dashon Goldson, perhaps the biggest need for the reigning NFC champions.
San Francisco selected free safety Eric Reid out of LSU with the 18th pick in the NFL draft on Thursday night after trading up to get the selection from the Dallas Cowboys. Making the move shows just how much the team believes it could have an immediate-impact player for the 2013 season.
“Unanimous decision that Eric Reid was our pick,” coach Jim Harbaugh said on the team website.
Safety was considered a significant need by general manager Trent Baalke for the 49ers, who lost Goldson to Tampa Bay at the start of the league’s free agency period in March.
Reid played three seasons for LSU and is still considered a raw talent in pass coverage. He could make an immediate impact on kick coverage.
In 39 career college games with 26 starts over three seasons for the Tigers, the 6-foot-1, 213-pound Reid finished with 199 tackles, six interceptions, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, 11 pass breakups and 4 ½ tackles for loss.
“It really stands out,” Harbaugh said. “He believes that he’s a winner all the way and champion kind of guy and football player. I can’t wait to have him here in our home in Santa Clara. I’m sure he’s excited to have the process start and know the team that wanted him the most.”
The two-time defending NFC West champion Niners gave up their selection at 31st overall to the Cowboys as well as No. 74 in the third round. San Francisco began the day with 13 picks.
Harbaugh recruited Reid to Stanford before taking the 49ers job in January 2011. The coach said Reid would likely arrive at team headquarters Saturday.
“According to his mother, who is a very honest person, she said this is where she wanted to see Eric and this is where Eric wanted to be,” Harbaugh said. “Wonderful, wonderful, very happy about it.”
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