49ers roster 2021: Last chance for Tim Harris Jr.?

Tim Harris #35 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
Tim Harris #35 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /

Tim Harris Jr., the 49ers’ final pick of the 2019 NFL Draft, needs to make a showing for himself in 2021 training camp if he hopes to stick around.

Perhaps the San Francisco 49ers will be rewarded for sticking with cornerback Tim Harris Jr. for two-plus years after not getting much of anything out of him after they used their final pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, No. 198 overall, on him.

The 6-foot-2, 197-pound corner out of Virginia had a lengthy six-year collegiate tenure that included two redshirt senior seasons in which injuries limited him to just two games between 2016 and 2017 and ultimately hindered his draft stock.

And the ominous worries about his durability didn’t evaporate into the pros when the Niners placed him on injured reserve with a groin injury his rookie season.

Tim Harris College Defense & Fumbles Table
TacklesDef IntFumbles

Provided by CFB at Sports Reference
Generated 6/23/2021.

Harris did, however, see action in two games for San Francisco in 2020 but only contributing on special teams for a whopping total of 18 snaps.

With the 49ers making some other notable additions at cornerback this offseason, it’s safe to say Harris’ standing on the roster is in jeopardy.

Why Tim Harris Jr. improves with 49ers in 2021

Considering Harris has had a scant impact at the NFL level, one has to go back to his college scouting reports to get any sort of assessment.

Interestingly enough, The Draft Network compared Harris to another Niners cornerback, Dontae Johnson, who’ll be one of the players with whom Harris will compete during training camp.

It’s hard to overlook Harris’ size, and The Draft Network cited his physicality and presence in both zone and man coverage, which should work to his benefit. If Harris makes that necessary stride, he could end up being a quality favorite on the depth chart for defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans.

Why Tim Harris Jr. bottoms out with 49ers in 2021

Well, injuries.

These were noticeably a problem at the collegiate level, and Harris hasn’t improved his reputation here within the pros either despite seeing some modest field time in 2020.

Turning 26 years old later this summer, Harris is still young enough to fall into the “still has potential” category, but the series of injuries suffered within both the college and pro ranks works against him in a major way.

Plus, all that lack of practical field time could ultimately mean San Francisco would rather go with players who have contributed more over the last two-plus years regardless of the level of competition.

Chances of making 49ers’ 53-man roster

The 49ers already have a trio of starting-caliber cornerbacks in Jason Verrett, Emmanuel Moseley and K’Waun Williams, meaning there are arguably only two or three more spots available on the 53-man roster.

Johnson, who was brought back on a one-year deal, seems to be a depth favorite for the Niners front office, so he’s likely on the stronger end of the bubble. So are rookie corners like Ambry Thomas and Deommodore Lenoir, who already command higher draft pedigrees than Harris.

Read More: Predicting 49ers cornerback depth chart after NFL Draft

There are also a number of other depth corners who also don’t stand much of a chance to survive roster cuts, and Harris falls squarely into that category.

It’s hard to envision Harris unseating either Thomas or Lenoir in the pecking order, meaning Johnson is likely the biggest obstacle in Harris landing a spot on the regular-season roster.

Preseason could offer a final shot for Harris to pull off the upset, but it seems likely he’ll be relegated somewhere else by the time Week 1 rolls around.

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