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Eric Reid Debuts for 49ers

Posted Aug 8, 2013

In his NFL debut, Eric Reid recorded six tackles and made two big hits on Denver Broncos receivers.

Eric Reid sticks out on the practice field because of his muscle. He was happy to finally get to use it on Thursday night.

Making his NFL debut, the 49ers first-round draftee recorded six tackles, including two big – and legal – hits, from his safety slot in San Francisco’s 10-6 loss to the Denver Broncos at Candlestick Park.

“We’re football players, so it was exciting to hit somebody else – and to really hit somebody else,” Reid, a 6-foot-1, 213-pounder said. “That’s my favorite part… I like contact.”

“Coach [Fangio] was saying that he is looking for a physical safety. That’s something that I think I can bring to the scene.”

Reid, who gained his sure-tackling reputation at LSU, first appeared during the Broncos’ initial offensive drive of the second quarter. He said he was disappointed not to face Denver quarterback Peyton Manning, who played only one drive.

“I was kind of hoping that I’d get to see him just because I was watching him when I was growing up,” Reid, who donned No. 35 on his red jersey, said. “I got to watch him from the sidelines, which isn’t a bad deal.”

Reid, who alternated playing alongside C.J. Spillman and Trenton Robinson in the defensive backfield, made a big hit on Denver receiver Virgil Green’s 13-yard, first down catch in the period. Late in the third, he lowered his shoulder into another Broncos’ pass-catcher, Kemonte Bateman. (Offseason addition Craig Dahl started at Reid’s desired position, flanking Whitner. Dahl is battling the aforementioned trio – Reid, Spillman and Robinson – for playing time.)

The pads-to-pads impact gained Reid acclaim on the home team sideline.

“They were giving me a hard time,” Reid said of his teammates. “Ahmad [Brooks] told me I needed to get into the weight room, hit ‘em a little harder.”

Coach Jim Harbaugh said he was pleased with the safety corps as a whole.

"I thought he's somebody to highlight," Harbaugh said.

Reid added that he was prepared for the motion in front of him, in part from studying the playbook and talking with veteran Donte Whitner, the man he hopes to start alongside come the regular season.

“I got my feet wet a little bit,” Reid said. “Overall, I was happy with the way I played.”

“It’s been my dream since I was a kid to be in the NFL. And to be out here with these guys on such a great team, it’s a blessing.”

[ PHOTOS - 49ERS VS. BRONCOS ]

The 49ers top draftee was far from the only rookie to impress in his debut.

Lining up at left outside linebacker, Corey Lemonier showed off his athleticism despite not recording a tackle.

Lawrence Okoye appeared for two plays at right defensive end on the Broncos’ final drive of the game, before Matt Prater’s 46-yard field goal.

First-year linebacker Nick Moody recorded four tackles but went down with 7:21 remaining in the third quarter when other players trying to track Anderson appeared to roll over his left leg. He was helped off the field by the team’s training staff and rode on a cart into the locker room.

[ READ – ROOKIE REPORT WITH NICK MOODY: AUG. 5 ]

Moody, a sixth-round draftee out of Florida State, suffered a knee injury, according to the team, and did not return to the game. He did say that his knee is fine postgame.

“Getting that first game in, I think that elevated my comfort level even more,” Moody told 49ers.com. “Practice against our o-line and how good they are – playing against them gets me ready. Now that I got that out of the way, I’ll feel more comfortable going into the next one.”

Offensively, tight end Vance McDonald, San Francisco’s second-round draftee, caught four of the eight balls directed his way for a team-high 66 yards. He made a nine-yard reception, setting up the 49ers’ errant field goal attempt entering halftime, and hauled in a 17-yard toss on the penultimate play of the third quarter.

"He caught the ball in traffic a couple times. A lot of room for improvement," Harbaugh said of his young tight end, "but that was a good first start for Vance."

Speaking to the 49ers offensive coaches’ creativity, McDonald also lined up in the backfield in the third quarter. The Rice product is attempting to fill the cleats of tight end Delanie Walker, who departed via free agency this offseason.

Also worth mentioning: B.J. Daniels, a seventh-round draft pick, was in to return a kickoff but did not appear at quarterback.

Running back D.J. Harper had an unfortunate beginning to his San Francisco debut, fumbling his first handoff from quarterback Scott Tolzien. Harper, who has impressed coaches with his pass-blocking skills in training camp, was stopped behind the line of scrimmage for a five-yard loss, and Broncos defensive end Shaun Phillips picked up the ball and returned it nine yards into the end zone for the first half’s only touchdown.

Other rookies to debut included seventh-round picks Marcus Cooper (left cornerback) and left tackle Carter Bykowski, who was called on a questionable holding penalty, as well as undrafted free agent Chuck Jacobs (wide receiver).

Four 49ers draftees – wide receiver Quinton Patton, running back Marcus Lattimore and defensive ends Cornellius Carradine and Quinton Dial – did not play due to injuries.

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