No. 2: Defensive Backs Ronnie Lott and Don Griffin
While he might be remembered for being one of the hardest-hitting safeties to ever play in the NFL, Ronnie Lott actually got his start in the league as a cornerback.
And a pretty good one, too, appearing in four straight Pro Bowls as a boundary corner to start his career.
Like many of the defenders on this list, Lott’s accolades need little introduction. As both a cornerback and safety, Lott managed a franchise-high 51 interceptions, and his nine Pro Bowl nods during his San Francisco tenure all but ensured enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Yet one of the reasons why Lott was able to move to safety was due to the emergence of cornerback Don Griffin, whom the Niners grabbed in Round 6 of the 1986 NFL Draft. His rookie year, Griffin managed three interceptions and would eventually go on to record 25 during his career with the 49ers.
As a duo, Griffin would supply fabulous coverage abilities, while Lott would deliver bone-crushing hits to anyone who managed to evade Griffin’s defense.
No wonder the Niners defenses of the late 1980s were elite. Both Lott and Griffin had a lot (pun intended) to say about that.