Finding Hidden Gems on 49ers 2016 Roster
Prince Charles Iworah – Cornerback
Of course there is a chance cornerback Prince Charles Iworah fails to make the final 53-man roster, as very few seventh-round draft picks do.
However, Iworah brings terrific speed (he ran a 4.32 40-yard dash at his pro day). NFL.com said in his draft profile he will fight for the ball at its high point (h/t Taylor Price of 49ers.com):
"Has bouncy feet and brings necessary reactive quickness to position. Has twitch and acceleration out of breaks to chase the rabbit. Explosive athlete. Showed off blazing recovery speed at his pro day. Played with an understanding of body positioning versus vertical routes. Will sink into laps of receivers and aggressively attack at the high point. Saw vast improvement in ball production from last season to this."
The Niners could do with his speed in the secondary. They have a nice mix of size and experience at the position, though the other corners are not slow by any means, they are far from burners.
Iworah could be a nice matchup for the opposing team’s slot receiver, and at 5-foot-11, he is tall enough to cover a regular receiver in a different position.
Another factor where the Niners could exploit his hidden gem material is in the return game. It is no secret the return game has been a major disappointment over the last few seasons. There has been very little explosiveness at the kick and punt returner level.
With current return man Ellington on pace to become the team’s starting slot receiver, it makes sense the team does not want to risk injury by still having him return punts and kicks. It is here where Iworah could take over the role and bring a new speed dimension the special teams has not had.
Iworah should be given a shot in training camp at the return role. If he does well, then give him another shot in the preseason games. There is little harm in trying him out before the regular season starts to see if they have anything with him on special teams.
It seems unlikely he will bypass the ton of corners ahead of him on the depth chart unless he just kills training camp. And before trying to perhaps stash him on the practice squad, they should test him to see if he can help remove the mediocrity from the Niners return numbers.
His athletic talent alone should be worth the test. And if he passes, another hidden gem will emerge.
Next: Brandon Thomas