No. 4: Cornerback
Outside of veteran cornerback Richard Sherman, few of the 49ers’ defensive backs enjoyed any sort of regular success over the course of 2018. Second-year cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon went through a major regression after his promising rookie campaign, being ranked by Pro Football Focus dead last in the league out of 112 qualifiers.
More from Niner Noise
- 49ers 2023 NFL Draft tracker: Pick-by-pick news and analysis
- Predicting 49ers NFL Draft picks by looking at final mocks
- DraftKings NFL Draft Promo – Win $150 Guaranteed on Any $5 Bet
- 2023 NFL Draft: EDGE Byron Young could be impact player for 49ers
- 5 low-key NFL Draft options for 49ers who are flying under the radar
Witherspoon also led all Niners players with seven penalties accepted against him.
Fortunately, Witherspoon bounced back somewhat towards the end of the year before landing on injured reserve. And the hope is he’ll revert to the kind of prowess shown back in 2017, although that’s no guarantee.
One of the chief problems for San Francisco here is the lack of proven depth behind him. Last year, the 49ers selected former collegiate safety Tarvarius Moore to groom into a boundary corner role. Like Witherspoon bouncing back, this experiment with Moore could work out well enough, given time.
Yet it’s just as feasible neither Witherspoon nor Moore emerge as a solid starting option outside Sherman, let alone someone capable of replacing him in a few years’ time.