49ers roster 2021: B.W. Webb needed to reinforce secondary

B.W. Webb #23 of the Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
B.W. Webb #23 of the Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

The 49ers made a mid-training camp signing of cornerback B.W. Webb, and he’ll need to provide a spark to a questionable depth chart in 2021.

It’s not too hard to understand why the San Francisco 49ers‘ cornerback depth chart could be a massive problem entering 2021.

Especially if one of the three perceived starters — Jason Verrett, K’Waun Williams and/or Emmanuel Moseley — winds up being absent for a long stretch.

This probably helps explain why the Niners inked veteran cornerback B.W. Webb to a one-year deal, officially announced on Aug. 4, with a corresponding move of waiving/injured third-year corner Tim Harris Jr.

Webb, 31 years old, entered the league as a fourth-round NFL Draft selection of the Dallas Cowboys in 2013 after playing his college ball at William & Mary. Since that point, Webb has been quite the journeyman, having a large number of stints over his career.

B.W. Webb Defense & Fumbles Table
1 yr1 yrCIN1512110170.03730710
1 yr1 yrDAL150000010.01613300
1 yr1 yrNOR1481707110.02825300
1 yr1 yrNYG16131000611.05952722
1 yr1 yrPIT1100.022000
1 yr1 yrTEN92100020.02220210

Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com
Generated 8/4/2021.

It might be something of a concern Webb hasn’t landed on with any one specific team for an elongated period of time, yet there’s also something to be said about the 5-foot-11 corner seemingly regularly having a job, aside from failing to crack the Arizona Cardinals‘ 53-man roster a year ago.

Whether or not Webb can make a key difference for San Francisco will hinge both on health and the development of other players on the roster.

Why B.W. Webb improves with 49ers in 2021

At this stage in his career, it’s going to be tough for Webb to find any kind of upswing in his career, although he’s traditionally been a solid run defender at the position over his career.

Many of the teams on which he’s played have lacked a quality pass rush, though, so one could assume the 49ers boasting a healthy and potent front four should make Webb’s life much easier, as well as every other member of the team’s secondary.

It’s also not likely Webb is tasked with a primary role and only would be called upon to bolster the back end of the depth chart, keeping his expectation level pretty low.

Why B.W. Webb flames out with 49ers in 2021

While Webb has always been a quality run defender, his pass-coverage skills aren’t necessarily that promising.

Per Pro Football Focus, he’s allowed opposing quarterbacks a 106.4 passer rating over his career, which doesn’t come close to suggesting he can be a reliable cover guy in a prominent role. And if the Niners wind up having to rely heavily on Webb over the course of the season, it wouldn’t be shocking at all to see opposing teams target him regularly.

He could flounder as a result.

Chances of making 49ers’ 53-man roster, projected role

San Francisco effectively changed out Harris for Webb, and Harris was on the fringes of the 53-man roster anyway.

Verrett, Williams and Moseley are all guaranteed roster spots, while third-round rookie corner Ambry Thomas is likely a shoo-in as well. Another rookie, Deommodore Lenoir, has a strong chance, while veteran Dontae Johnson seems to be a likely add to the roster because of his experience and versatility to play both the boundary and at nickel.

That adds up to six cornerbacks, meaning Webb isn’t guaranteed at all to make the regular-season roster. If he does, he’ll likely have to beat out someone like Lenoir or Johnson.

Read More: 49ers secondary could be a major liability in 2021

If Webb makes the cut, he’ll likely be tabbed as one of those back-end options, supporting and guarding against injuries to players like Verrett, Williams and others while also contributing on special teams.

As well as ensuring the development of Thomas continues.

Ideally, the 49ers wouldn’t have to count on Webb too much. If they do, the hope will be for him to use his veteran prowess to his advantage.

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