49ers roster: 5 moves John Lynch must execute without question in 2022
By Peter Panacy
No. 2: John Lynch, 49ers must go all-in on cornerbacks
Somewhat surprising a stat, the 49ers have actually been good at pass defense this season, giving up the NFL’s sixth-fewest pass yards (2,772) and allowing only 6.1 yards per attempt, (13th).
A lot of that has to do with Nick Bosa and the pass rush, though, and it’s more than fair a statement to suggest cornerback Josh Norman won’t be a long-term answer, not with him being 33 years old and a free agent in 2021 anyway. And while nickel cornerback K’Waun Williams has been excellent, he is also a pending free agent as well.
The book is still out on rookie corners Ambry Thomas and Deommodore Lenoir, yet neither has shown much to suggest they’ll be quality starting-caliber options in the near future.
After that, the cupboard is pretty bare.
A couple of challenges here. For starters, the cornerback free-agent market isn’t overly impressive in 2022, meaning there are only a handful of above-average options the Niners may be able to go after.
Additionally, the lack of a first-round pick in 2022 will limit John Lynch to options only on days two and three of the draft, cutting back on chances to grab a plug-and-play defensive back.
Still, neither of these two should be challenging. Lynch could trade that second-round pick for a starting-caliber option on another roster right now, and that’d be OK and would answer a need. He could use available cap space from cutting Dee Ford to grab someone else, too.
Heck, even using the team’s first two draft picks on corners wouldn’t be a bad idea either.
Whatever the route is, Lynch needs to ensure this need is addressed on multiple levels.