49ers NFL Draft 2022: 5 cornerbacks San Francisco must target

Trent McDuffie #22 of the Washington Huskies (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)
Trent McDuffie #22 of the Washington Huskies (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) /
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Keidron Smith, Ole Miss Rebels, Chris Pierce Jr., Vanderbilt Commodores
Vanderbilt Commodores wide receiver Chris Pierce Jr. (19) against Mississippi Rebels defensive back Keidron Smith (20) Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports /

4. player. 841. . Cornerback. Rebels . Keidron Smith

49ers NFL Draft Target No. 4: Keidron Smith, Ole Miss

Ballhawking and interceptions aren’t the only quality indicators of an NFL-level cornerback, and there are certainly players who won’t be as highly touted early in the draft but have the intangible skills to eventually develop into long-term starters.

That might have to be the gamble the Niners would take, should Ole Miss cornerback Keidron Smith be a day-three draft target.

At 6-foot-2 and 195 pounds, Smith fits the mold for a long, lanky defensive back with good speed and some physicality to play at the position. While there are concerns about his quick-twitch reaction skills and recovery abilities, Smith already has 18 tackles on the year with a pass broken up.

Smith might require a little bit of polish at the pro level, perhaps taking a year to fully acclimate.

Considering San Francisco needs some long-term investments anyway, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to make some of those late-round moves and hope they pan out for the better.

Especially if Smith is able to capitalize on his physical attributes.