San Francisco 49ers: Top 5 Storylines to Watch in Training Camp
By Peter Panacy
The Cornerback Position Battle
San Francisco has a lot of cornerbacks on its current roster. And it’s anyone’s guess how this unit will shape up in 2016.
General manager Trent Baalke drafted three of these players in this year’s NFL Draft — Will Redmond, Rashard Robinson and Prince Charles Iworah.
These guys are added to a deep cast including veteran Tramaine Brock, up-and-coming defensive back Jimmie Ward, Kenneth Acker, Dontae Johnson, Keith Reaser, Marcus Cromartie and Chris Davis.
Brock is likely the No. 1 guy on the depth chart, although Niner Noise’s Jerod Brown suggested the veteran could lose his starting job this season.
And Ward, who served as the Niners’ primary nickel corner the last two seasons, may be moved to the outside. Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee described this further:
"What began in OTAs as an experiment — using heretofore nickel back Jimmie Ward as an outside cornerback — seemed to become etched a little deeper with every practice. Ward wasn’t perfect this spring. But he showed enough potential that he is the favorite to start training camp in one of the starting cornerback spots. And why not? He’s athletic, confident, aggressive and strong enough to play press coverage. Which is just what the 49ers want in their cornerbacks and what they have on the other side in Tramaine Brock."
Should this happen, the 49ers would be looking for a nickel back to take over this season. Johnson, at 6’2″ and 200 pounds, might be the favorite here. Although a leg injury, per Barrows, may be something to monitor during camp.
With, likely, three cornerback spots taken up, the remaining cast will be competing for depth. San Francisco will likely keep no more than six CBs on the roster, and some will be asked to contribute on special teams.
Next: The Wide Receiver Position Battle