Veteran safety Donte Whitner has insisted all along that rookie Eric Reid possesses the skills and mentality to be a hard-hitting defender and fill the huge void left by Dashon Goldson's departure in free agency.
Apparently, coach Jim Harbaugh and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio agreed. They named Reid the NFC champion Niners' starter Tuesday at free safety for the Sept. 8 season opener against Green Bay at Candlestick Park.
And Reid, San Francisco's first-round draft pick in April, soon heard about the announcement from the media that he had earned a spot on one of the NFL's top defenses.
San Francisco traded up with Dallas to draft the speedy safety with the 18th pick out of Louisisana State, believing all along he would make an immediate impact as a rookie.
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