1. Eric Wright 1981-1990 (2x Pro Bowler, 11 postseason victories, 4x Super Bowl champion)
When head coach Bill Walsh took the helm in 1979, his first decree was to overhaul the San Francisco 49ers’ defense. By 1981, the team had an entirely new defensive backfield, and each one of those players would go on to make Pro Bowls. Of the new cornerbacks, none made more impact than Eric Wright. A big corner, Wright was a ball hawk and a huge piece of the 49ers’ lock-down defense during the team’s dynasty of the 1980s.
2. Deion Sanders 1994 (Pro Bowl, three postseason victories, Super Bowl XXIX champion, Pro Football Hall of Fame class of 2011)
Deion Sanders’ lone season with the Niners may have been the best of his career. He won Defensive Player of the Year honors despite only starting 12 games because of his baseball obligations. Sanders still managed to return six interceptions for 303 yards and three touchdowns and made key pass deflections in big games. Then he went into the postseason where he intercepted three more passes. His impact can’t be accurately illustrated by statistics alone; Sanders’ speed and coverage ability essentially shut down his side of the field.
3. Eric Davis 1990-1995 (2x Pro Bowler, six postseason victories, Super Bowl XXIX champion)
While Sanders shut down one side of the field, Eric Davis played opposite him and received all the action. This resulted in a key interception return for a touchdown in the NFC Championship Game against the Dallas Cowboys after the 1994 season. Davis totaled four interceptions in three postseason games, culminating in the Super Bowl XXIX victory.
4. Don Griffin 1986-1995 (nine postseason victories, 2x Super Bowl champion)
Never spectacular but always consistent, cornerback Don Griffin was an excellent cover cornerback who was rarely out of position. Tim McKyer may have been the better corner while with the Niners, but Griffin wins out here because of his postseason victories. Also, McKyer’s fights with Jerry Rice didn’t help his case.