No. 1: 49ers cornerback Ambry Thomas
In some ways, 2021 rookie cornerback Ambry Thomas is a bit of an enigma.
After opting out of his 2020 season at Michigan because of the pandemic, Thomas’ start at the NFL level was far from pretty, and even when he first saw the field as a starter because of the rash of injuries the 49ers were suffering at the position, Thomas struggled.
He did, however, turn things around late in the year, at least putting himself in a position to be part of the starter’s discussion in 2022.
That was before the Niners inked former Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Charvarius Ward, though, and Thomas’ hold on a starting job took another hit when San Francisco re-signed fellow corner Jason Verrett to another one-year deal.
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Aside from those moves, though, the 49ers were relatively quiet at the position.
OK, so the Niners grabbed nickel cornerback Samuel Womack in Round 5, but he won’t play the boundary. And their sixth-round selection, Penn State’s Tariq Castro-Fields, is likely little more than a developmental depth option right now.
Thomas might have been pushed down the depth chart a lot. But his roster spot is still safe, and he still has an inside track to emerge as a would-be starter down the line.
Perhaps not in 2021, as long as Verrett stays healthy. But at least at some point.