Despite the lopsided 33-14 loss to the Denver Broncos, San Francisco 49ers safety Eric Reid was impressive on Saturday night. If he can remain healthy, Reid looks like a natural fit in defensive coordinator Robert Saleh's new scheme. Against the Broncos, it didn't matter if he was stuffing the run against C.J. Anderson or covering tight end Virgil Green, Reid looked impressive in his 22 snaps on defense and finished the night with six tackles and an assist.

"I'm in the box more, closer to the line of scrimmage, more involved in the run," Reid said following the game. "Some plays I am a linebacker, basically, depending on what coach Saleh calls. We all switch roles depending on what the call is."

The five highest-graded 49ers players from Saturday's contest were all defensive players. While the team as a whole gave up 33 points to the Broncos, the majority of that was due to turnovers and the unit as a whole fared well. According to the Sacramento Bee, the longest drive against the 49ers' starting defense was eight plays for 36 yards.

The top-graded player of the entire game, included those on Denver's roster, was Reid, according to Pro Football Focus. He earned an 87.2 overall grade which narrowly edged Broncos defensive end Shelby Harris, who earned an 87.1 overall grade.

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The Pro Football Focus analysis team had the following to write about Reid:

"Reid showed his potential as he was all over the field during his 22 snaps. He recorded three stops and only allowed 11 yards receiving on three receptions."

"I like it," Reid said on Saturday night. "Just being around the ball more. Tackling is my favorite part of the game. I love to hit. So, I have more opportunity to do that."

"He was out there a little bit longer," 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said of Reid during a conference call on Sunday. "We were playing obviously an eight-man front. A lot of the plays got turned to him and he's got to make the play. He did a good job making it, not giving up any more yards after contact. I thought he had a couple good plays in the pass game, especially on a keeper they had, coming back and stopping a tight end on the slide-route. But, Eric did a solid job. That's what we expect him to do and I was real pleased with how he played."

The second-highest graded player was undrafted rookie safety Lorenzo Jerome (86.2), who has been making it nearly impossible for the coaching staff to even consider letting him go during the 53-man roster cut-down. Jerome ended the night with just two tackles but earned the defense's top coverage grade (86.5).

The Pro Football Focus analysis team had the following to write about Jerome:

"UDFA safety Lorenzo Jerome made the most of his opportunity against the Broncos. His 86.5 coverage grade was tops on the team, allowing only one reception which was limited to three yards while recording a pass break up."

The 49ers' next preseason matchup will be against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium.

5 highest-graded 49ers vs. Broncos

  • S Eric Reid, 87.2 overall grade
  • S Lorenzo Jerome, 86.2 overall grade
  • DE Tank Carradine, 85.5 overall grade
  • LB NaVorro Bowman, 84.0 overall grade
  • DE Pita Taumoepenu, 80.5 overall grade