Cornerbacks on the Roster: Nnamdi Asomugha, Tarell Brown, Marcus Cooper, Chris Culliver, Darryl Morris, Lowell Rose, Tramaine Brock, Perrish Cox.
Position Battle: No. 2 and No. 3 cornerback on depth chart
The Battling Players: Carlos Rogers, Nnamdi Asomugha, Chris Culliver
When it comes to the position battle at cornerback, two of the three players competing are trying to show they are not washed up and can still play at a Pro Bowl level. Last year Carlos Rogers had a pedestrian season after being a Pro Bowler in 2011. The 49ers rewarded him with a four-year deal with $10.5 million guaranteed after that season. The team was not expecting him to follow it up in 2012 with 50 tackles and only one interception.
Nnamdi Asomugha was cut by the Philadelphia Eagles after not living up to the big contract he signed in 2011. The 49ers signed Asomugha to an incentive laden contract and don’t have to give him any money if he does not make the regular season roster. Asomugha wanted to play for a contender and a chance to win a starting job. He will get both with the 49ers.
Chris Culliver is entering his third season with the 49ers and he has improved each year he has played in the NFL. Last season he was used as San Francisco’s primary nickel cornerback, an important position that covers the slot receiver. Culliver made a key interception in the NFC Championship last season against the Atlanta Falcons.
With Tarell Brown the likely No. 1 starter at cornerback, that leaves a competition between Asomugha and Rogers for the No. 2 spot. Even though Rogers is slated to make $5.5 million this season, it does not mean he is a lock to start. The loser of the Rogers vs. Asomugha competition will move on to fight with Culliver as the No. 3 cornerback. Culliver will almost certainly win the battle for the third cornerback position, no matter if it’s Rogers or Asomugha.
Position Prediction: Asomugha has a big chip on his shoulder with many saying he is no longer the same shutdown cornerback he once was. He has more to prove than Rogers which will give him the added fire to win the No. 2 position. Rogers will also lose out to Culliver for the No. 3 roster spot, regulating him to fourth on the CB depth chart.
With the addition of receivers Percy Harvin and Tavon Austin to the NFC West, there will be little room for error when it comes to the 49ers’ secondary.