49ers depth chart: What Jason Verrett has to do to make 53-man roster

Jason Verrett #27 of the San Francisco 49ers defends Artie Burns #25 of the Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
Jason Verrett #27 of the San Francisco 49ers defends Artie Burns #25 of the Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /

49ers cornerback Jason Verrett’s return to the field in 2019 wasn’t inspiring, and the injury-prone defensive back has a lot to prove in 2020.

San Francisco 49ers cornerback Jason Verrett is easily one of those “what could have been?” storylines of recent years.

Highly touted out of TCU, the San Diego Chargers‘ Round 1 pick from the 2014 NFL Draft has had his flashy moments at the pro level, including his Pro Bowl 2015 campaign in which he recorded three interceptions, a touchdown and a whopping 12 passes defended.

Yet Verrett’s career has been paralleled by plenty of injuries, including yet another one last season after the Niners gave him a one-year prove-it contract early in 2019.

Verrett was coming off a debilitating Achilles injury suffered early in 2018, so one can understand why he might have been a bit rusty. When finally given the chance to see the field again, following fellow cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon‘s foot injury in Week 3 against the Pittsburgh Steelers last year, the results weren’t exactly pretty:

Verrett surrendered this ugly touchdown to Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson, completely burned in the process. The play before, Verrett was flagged for pass interference.

And those were the only two snaps Verrett saw last season before finding himself back on injured reserve again.

It was pretty clear Verrett’s health wasn’t anywhere close to 100 percent. The idea he could potentially be a sleeper starter for San Francisco evaporated, as the reclamation project looked to have completely fallen apart.

But the 49ers still had faith, electing to re-sign Verrett during the offseason to a one-year deal.

It’s likely a move intended to give the team a bit more depth and experience at the position, which doesn’t have too many proven options behind the starting boundary trio of Witherspoon, Richard Sherman and Emmanuel Moseley.

That said, Verrett has a long way to go to ensure he’ll stick around on San Francisco’s 53-man roster in 2020.

Jason Verrett’s to-do list with making 49ers’ 53-man roster

One of the biggest stats accompanying Verrett’s career the past few years has been his availability. Including 2016, the year after his lone Pro Bowl appearance, Verrett has appeared in a total of just six regular-season games.

Six. And that’s spread out over five years.

So one could put health atop the list without question. Yet Verrett’s overall potential to hang around, which will be more difficult now that he’s 29 years old and no longer can bank on promise, will hinge on how well he competes against other corners on San Francisco’s depth chart.

In addition to the above names, Verrett must establish himself as a proven commodity in training camp. He won’t unseat Sherman and Moseley, and pushing Witherspoon down the depth chart will be a tall order.

But the Niners could keep four boundary corners on the roster this season, meaning Verrett would be slated up against fellow defensive backs Dontae Johnson, who also returned on a one-year deal, and the undrafted rookie, DeMarkus Acy, for field time in camp.

These three players are essentially competing for what could be the fourth and final spot among the team’s outside corners, should the 49ers take that route.

Next. 3 burning questions for 49ers cornerbacks in 2020. dark

If Verrett fails to seize the opportunity, or injuries come back to haunt him again, it’s highly likely 2020 will mark the last time he dons an NFL uniform.