Even if the 49ers re-sign Richard Sherman, who enters a contract year in 2020, they can’t overlook the fact he’ll turn 32 years old this March and is hitting the back end of a Hall of Fame-caliber career.
One could make the argument boundary cornerback is San Francisco’s most pressing need this offseason. Emmanuel Moseley and Ahkello Witherspoon bounced back and forth as the team’s No. 2 starter behind Sherman for much of the year. And even if one of them rises to the occasion this upcoming season, finding Sherman’s replacement has to be a priority.
Florida’s C.J. Henderson checks off a lot of Sherman-like boxes and then some.
At 6-foot-1 and 204 pounds, the former Gator has enough size to match up on the outside, flexing enough playmaking ability with 11 pass breakups his final season at Florida. Henderson is one of the best corners in this draft class, in terms of staying with his receiver. And unlike Sherman, who was never known for being a fast defensive back, Henderson’s 4.39 40-yard time and 20 reps on the 225-pound bench press at the combine suggest he has both the speed and strength to add yet another level of stoutness to the 49ers defense.
If he falls to No. 31, of course, which will be a slim possibility.