No. 4: The Secondary Is Better than Anticipated
Last year, Pro Football Focus tabbed the 49ers secondary dead last in the entire NFL. After all, the Niners generated just two interceptions and seemed prone to giving up big, costly plays through the air on nearly a week-to-week basis.
Despite this, San Francisco did relatively little to address the personnel grouping. Yes, the team inked oft-injured cornerback Jason Verrett to a one-year deal. But that was essentially the only high-profile move.
The 49ers are banking on an improved pass rush helping out the defensive backfield. So far, at least in training camp practices, it seems to be working.
Cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon, who was PFF’s last-ranked qualifier out of 112 players in 2018, looks nothing like the shaky, indecisive player he was a year ago at this time. His training camp struggles last season carried over into Week 1 and throughout the year.
Now, Witherspoon could easily be the player to beat for the No. 2 boundary cornerback.
Another budding player is second-year pro Tarvarius Moore, whose switch from cornerback to free safety looks like it could pay off handsomely. Moore picked off quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo twice in practice earlier this week, and there are signs Moore could wind up securing the starting bid at some point this season.
Perhaps sooner than later, especially if he keeps those kinds of efforts up.