The cornerback position was going to be a question mark heading into 2017, and four weeks’ results have proven that to be true.
Second-year corner Rashard Robinson has been a disappointment, especially after coming off an impressive rookie campaign. The Niners have been a bit premature in assuming he could handle No. 1 duties this season.
But with depth an issue, it isn’t as if San Francisco can make any quick changes here.
Through four weeks, the 49ers have allowed 961 yards through the air — an average of 240.25 per game, which ranks 22nd in the NFL.
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What the 49ers Are Doing Well
On one hand, the Niners have done a good job limiting the total amount of passing offense, aside from their Week 3 efforts against the Rams (308 yards).
Outside of that week, San Francisco has handled opponents’ No. 1 receivers moderately well. Panthers wideout Kelvin Benjamin had just one reception for 25 yards, and the 49ers managed to keep Cardinals top receiver Larry Fitzgerald mostly in check until the final play in overtime in Week 4.
There’s a lot that goes into this, but the Niners aren’t getting victimized by top-tier receivers just yet.
What Needs Improvement
Just because the 49ers are seemingly shutting down No. 1 receivers doesn’t mean this group is perfect. Far from it.
Robinson’s 36.2 overall Pro Football Focus grade ranks No. 106 out of 111 qualifying cornerbacks. And nickel corner K’Waun Williams, whom the Niners recently signed to an extension, has a 39.3 mark — No. 100.
Penalties have been an issue for Robinson as well. Through four weeks, the young corner has committed five penalties, four of which have been accepted.
As bad as it sounds, No. 2 cornerback Dontae Johnson has been the most reliable out of all San Francisco’s corners through four weeks.
It’s pretty clear this unit will need some upgrades and/or serious improvement if the team wishes to take a stride in 2018.