The Pro Bowl safety had to overcome the climate change after leaving his hometown to attend the NFL's largest job fair at the NFL Scouting Combine. There, he would have a chance to impress his future employer, the San Francisco 49ers.
“You have to perform your best on the last day when you’ve had not a lot of sleep,” said Reid, recalling his combine experience in a recent appearance on CSN Bay Area’s "Yahoo! Sports Talk Live."
“It’s a little bit stressful," Reid added. "You’ve been waiting for that moment your entire life, I know I had been. But once you get out there, you just do what you do, be an athlete.”
Reid was the athlete the 49ers had expected to see based on their game-film evaluation.
"Eric was a young man we identified of film, and we’re film guys,” general manager Trent Baalke said at the combine.
Reid backed up his game tape at the combine, posting a 4.53 40-yard dash, a 40.5-inch vertical jump and a 134-inch broad jump.
Reid's total package made him a can't-miss selection in the eyes of the 49ers scouting department.
“If you look at Eric, not only physically but from a performance level, consistency, intensity, his intelligence – guys like Eric are easy to figure out because they’ve always done it,” 49ers director of college scouting Matt Malaspina said. “There are no secrets. A guy like Eric that played at the level he played at, it’s fairly simple to figure out what he can do.”
One of Baalke’s favorite books, “Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking” by Malcolm Gladwell, helped the 49ers lead personnel man's approach to recent drafts, including the decision to select Reid.
Baalke explained the book’s role in his draft evaluation process.
“The first time you look at a player, you’re usually right,” the general manager said. “Your gut is usually right. Through the process, you gather more and more information and you watch more and more film. And sometimes the process is so long and it’s drawn out another two weeks that you end up talking yourself out of that first impression. So I always go back to the book.
“If you’ve read it, you understand where I’m coming from. And if you haven’t, you should. It’s a great book.”
Thanks to Baalke's gut, the 49ers made a wise selection in last year's draft. Reid’s rookie season was succesful.
“I had a lot of help from the veterans on the team,” Reid said. “I had a lot of help from the coaching staff. I give them a lot of credit. I did make some mistakes along the way, some growing pains of being a professional football player, everybody knows about the concussions."
The young defensive back bounced back from a pair of concussions in his rookie season and is eager to build on from his full year of learning on the job.
“Good thing training camp and minicamp wasn’t televised," Reid added. "I mentioned growing pains, guys were out there running by me. That’s why we practice. And that’s why I’m thankful for the coaches and the veterans who helped me.”
Oh, and the scouting staff that identified his talent.
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