Under-the-radar 49ers training camp battle No. 1: Nickel cornerback
Players in the mix: Darqueze Dennard, Emmanuel Moseley, Ambry Thomas, Samuel Womack
Yes, cornerback is going to be a high-profile camp battle to watch for the 49ers this offseason, but the boundary spots are inevitably going to carry the bulk of the attention.
The focus on nickel duties in the wake of K’Waun Williams departing in free agency, however, may not receive anything close to the kind of interest.
Considering how nickel packages have become the base-down formation of NFL defenses in recent years, thanks to the pass-happy nature of the league, nickel cornerbacks are effectively starters now, making this particular camp battle a competition for a starting role.
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The Niners do have some options, particularly if Emmanuel Moseley loses a starting boundary job in the wake of adding Charvarius Ward and re-signing Jason Verrett, and Moseley playing on the inside is something he’s done before. Likewise, San Francisco has already given Darqueze Dennard received a lot of first-team reps during offseason workouts thus far, yet he’ll obviously be challenged by the 49ers’ fifth-round NFL Draft pickup, Samuel Womack, who arguably looked better than Dennard during OTAs and minicamp.
Replacing Williams is going to be tough, but at least the Niners’ offseason stockpiling of defensive backs helps spark the competition to provide the best possible resolution to his departure.
Training camp will kick off towards the end of July.