San Francisco 49ers’ CB hopefuls on display at Senior Bowl practices
San Francisco doesn’t have many glaring needs heading into the offseason and should be poised for another solid year in 2022, provided the quarterback situation is figured out.
But one need stands out more than others: cornerback.
The 49ers could lose as many as four CBs from their 2021 roster, including the two who received the most snaps among the group in Josh Norman and K’Waun Williams. Jason Verrett, who tore his ACL in the season-opener, is also an unrestricted free agent, as is backup Dontae Johnson.
San Francisco drafted two CBs in 2021, Ambry Thomas (third round, Michigan) and Deommodore Lenoir (fifth round, Oregon), but the two rarely saw the field as rookies. Thomas received 333 snaps on defense, fourth-most among 49er CBs, while Leonoir played just 260 snaps.
Translation: Expect San Francisco to upgrade the position in the offseason.
If that’s the route the 49ers take, then they’ll have to do so without a first-round pick.
Fortunately, April’s draft is rife with cornerbacks.
There are currently six CBs ranked among the top-32 in the latest Fanspeak-Jake Rigdon big board and 10 ranked among the top 64 players, with two others who are just outside that range.
Among the Round 2 possibilities are Kyler Gordon of Washington (ranked No. 36), Derion Kenrick of Georgia (No. 42), Marcus Jones of Houston (No. 50) and Martin Emerson of Mississippi State (No. 60). Two others are in the late-second, early-third-round range in Coby Bryant of Cincinnati (71) and Tariq Woolen of UTSA (74).
Out of that group, only Bryant, Kendrick and Woolen are participating in Senior Bowl practices.
Kendrick, at 5-foot-11, 202-pounds, has been solid overall but has also given up a few plays during practice. FanNation’s NFL Draft said speedy Virginia Tech receiver Tré Turner was able to get off the line of scrimmage against Kendrick, while South Alabama receiver Jalen Tolbert has won several of his matchups against the former Georgia Bulldog. Tolbert is the No. 73 overall prospect in the Rigdon big board.
Woolen also has had his moments, as he tested out as the fastest player at Tuesday’s practice at 22.45 mph max speed. But he also gave up a deep touchdown pass to SMU’s Danny Gray. Gray is ranked No. 227.
Of the trio, media reports suggest that the 6-foot-1, 190-pound Bryant has been the steadiest. From the Steelers Depot: “You can tell he’s not afraid of any matchup. He mirror-matches well off the line and can play physically at the catch point.” He also looked good against Ole Miss’ Braylon Sanders and Nevada’s Romeo Doubs (No. 99), although Boise State’s Khalil Shakir (No. 78) managed to get separation against him during 1-on-1 drills.
Romeo Doubs vs. Coby Bryant
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