Because most rookies don’t get enough credit, we’ll be highlighting some top performances by the NFL’s next generation.
Defense: Week 14
With the loss of Jimmy Garoppolo for the whole season, Niners fans haven’t had a whole lot to cheer about. Sure, the emergence of Matt Breida and George Kittle has been nice to see, but they haven’t looked like the contender we expected with Jimmy G under center. Perhaps, however, there is some method to the madness of Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch. Rookie defensive back D.J. Reed lit up the stat sheet on Sunday in San Francisco’s upset of the far-better-than-their-record Denver Broncos. Reed was all over the field with twelve tackles, three for loss, one sack and a forced fumble. The 5’9”, 188lb. DB was selected in the fifth round, out of Kansas St, where he shined, earning all-conference honors in the Big-12 after starting his college career at Fresno St. Reed might project out as a smaller slot corner, but the Niners used him in multiple formations last week, and he repaid their trust with massive production on the defensive side of the ball. Reed is also a dangerous kick returner, and he’s averaging over 30 yards per return on special teams, with a rocket ship 90-yard return to his credit already this season.
Image courtesy of Niner Nation.