49ers NFL Draft 2021: Predicting each rookie’s role, spot on depth chart
By Peter Panacy
No. 4: 49ers CB Ambry Thomas
The 49ers scrambled a bit late on day two and then again on day three to add some defensive backs, which was largely viewed as a top need behind grabbing Trey Lance.
And after back-to-back corners went just before Thomas’ selection at No. 102 overall, one can fairly ask whether or not the Niners are thinking they should have waited on adding a running back in Round 3 instead.
Either way, Michigan cornerback Ambry Thomas is now pegged as someone who can fill both an immediate depth void behind the presumed boundary starters, Jason Verrett and Emmanuel Moseley, while potentially working his way towards being a future starter on the outside.
The 6-foot-0, 183-pound defensive back can play multiple spots within the secondary, and that works to his advantage. So does the fact he’ll transition to a primarily zone-heavy scheme where he can look to maximize the three-interception campaign he enjoyed back in 2019.
Thomas sat out 2020, meaning he’ll have some of the same rust concerns associated with Trey Lance. And seeing how many a rookie defensive back often struggles with the transition from college to the pros, it’d probably be best for San Francisco to keep Thomas as a third- or fourth-string cornerback while allowing him some field time on special teams.
Of note, he served as a kick returner for his first two years at Ann Arbor.