49ers roster: Predicting 2021 cornerback depth chart

Emmanuel Moseley #41 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Emmanuel Moseley #41 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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Patrick Surtain II, Alabama Crimson Tide, NFL Draft
University of Alabama’s Patrick Surtain II (2) Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

Looking at 49ers’ offseason options at cornerback

With Emmanuel Moseley now locked up for the next two years, San Francisco now has one less starting job to totally worry about. Moseley isn’t guaranteed a starting spot, of course. But at least the 49ers don’t have to make this positional need as big a priority.

The 2021 NFL Draft has a number of good corners available, but most of them are skewed towards the early rounds. If the Niners want to grab a plug-and-play starter, they’ll have to do so early as there aren’t a lot of proven commodities in later rounds.

That shouldn’t discourage San Francisco from grabbing at least two or three corners with their 10 total draft picks, though.

Cornerbacks 49ers can target in NFL Draft

  • Patrick Surtain II, Alabama
  • Jaycee Horn, South Carolina
  • Caleb Farley, Virginia Tech
  • Asante Samuel Jr., Florida
  • Greg Newsome, Northwestern
  • Tay Gowan, UCF
  • Eric Stokes, Georgia

Surtain has been a notable prospect the 49ers could target, and it’s not hard to find mock drafts with him being their top selection at No. 12 overall. Most draft pundits feel it’s between him and Farley for the No. 1 cornerback to be selected on draft day, although Farley essentially had just one year of notable production under his belt.

Stokes, meanwhile, could be an excellent day-two addition. Especially if he falls into Round 3 where the Niners have one compensatory selection late in the round.

Cornerbacks 49ers can target in free agency

  • Quinton Dunbar
  • Michael Davis
  • Gareon Conley
  • Ross Cockrell
  • Mike Hilton

San Francisco probably won’t be able to commit big money to some of the more high-profile free-agent names out there on the market. But with many a young cornerback struggling to transition from the collegiate ranks to the pros, it would be wise for the 49ers to infuse some veteran talent to go along with any first-year player drafted.

Dunbar and Davis both played in a Niners-like Cover 3 defense with the Seattle Seahawks and Los Angeles Chargers, respectively, so the transition there could be smooth.

Meanwhile, Hilton is seen as a nickel cornerback who’d be both younger and potentially cheaper than K’Waun Williams, should the latter depart for a new contract elsewhere.

OK, time for some predictions.