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Eric Reid Eyes Starting Role

Posted May 10, 2013

Rookie minicamp has begun for the San Francisco 49ers, but Eric Reid feels like he’s got a leg-up on his fellow NFL newcomers.

Rookie minicamp has begun for the San Francisco 49ers, but Eric Reid feels like he’s got a leg-up on his fellow NFL newcomers.

That’s because the 6-foot-1, 213-pound safety has been studying the defensive playbook. San Francisco’s first-round pick, No. 18 overall, received his playbook last month during his 24-hour visit to the 49ers facility.

He’s been studying it non-stop and felt the benefits from his early homework when the rookies started a three-day minicamp with a morning walk-through.

“I was ahead of the curve,” the first-team SEC safety out of LSU said. “The calls were familiar, the checks were familiar. It’s just about doing it with speed.”

The speed will continue to pick up throughout the offseason, but for now, rookies like Reid will only need to concentrate on mastering the basic principles of San Francisco’s playbook.

“These guys look really good, they look like football players,” Jim Harbaugh said of his third rookie class as 49ers head coach. “A journey of a thousand steps starts with the first step, so that’s where we’re at right now.”

Reid shouldn’t have trouble with preparing himself to play. The two-time All-SEC Academic Honor roll member was a quick-study in college. He also considered joining Harbaugh at his previous coaching gig. Harbaugh recruited Reid, but the Geismar, La., native decided to stay in his home state and play at LSU.

“He didn’t go to Stanford,” Harbaugh noted, “but in this case he didn’t have a choice. I’m very excited to be working with him.”

The feeling is mutual for Reid. The play-making safety is eager to begin his professional career and to do so under Harbaugh's watch.

“The draft process is over with,” he said. “I’m glad I’m in California and I’m ready to work.”

Reid’s studying of the playbook has allowed him to build a solid understanding of the checks and alignments the 49ers use in their secondary.  Learning the verbiage of the defense will be crucial for Reid, who is looking to push for a starting role at free safety.

“I don’t by any means expect to start from day one, but that’s a goal of mine,” he said.

Reid met with San Francisco’s starting strong safety earlier on Friday. The LSU standout noticed Donte Whitner in the gym working out and made his first introduction to his potential playing partner.

“He’s one of those guys I’m going to be following around quite a bit,” Reid said of the interaction. “He was working out, I just said, ‘Hey’ I didn’t want to bother him, but I’m looking forward to working with him.”

Reid doesn’t know Whitner’s personality just yet, but he’s already picked up on his playing style from viewing 49ers game tape from last season.

The rookie safety knows he has big shoes to fill with Dashon Goldson exiting via free agency, but Reid isn’t bashful about competing for the starting role opposite of Whitner.

“I’m coming in and try to get on the field and when I am I don’t want to have any downfall,” Reid said.

For now, Reid will use the three-day rookie camp to get a head-start on the upcoming safety competition.

Reid’s primary focus is on making progress each day. The same goes for all rookies in the 2013 class.

“Our main concern is to make the team and we have our full-go practice this afternoon and I’m looking forward to it,” Reid said. “Of course there are nerves at first, I’m a rookie, but I got my first practice out the way.

“I just want to come out here and work and earn my keep.”

[PHOTOS: ROOKIE MINICAMP DAY 1]