Samuel Womack has best shot to start right away for 49ers

Toledo Rockets defensive back Samuel Womack (19) battles Colorado State Rams wide receiver Warren Jackson (9) Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Toledo Rockets defensive back Samuel Womack (19) battles Colorado State Rams wide receiver Warren Jackson (9) Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports /

With K’Waun Williams leaving via free agency, a spot at slot cornerback has opened up and rookie Samuel Womack may just be the guy to fill it up.

With the early components of preseason behind us, namely OTAs and the mandatory minicamp wrapped up, the San Francisco 49ers are now on a break for a while before returning for the all important training camp.

While the Niners will be returning most of their starters from 2021 and have some ready-made replacements for a lot of the positions that haven’t retained them, one question mark is exactly how San Francisco will fill the role at slot cornerback.

Cornerback has always been a relative weakness for the 49ers in recent seasons, but the team has made sure to invest multiple NFL Draft picks and a good chunk of free-agent money to try to fix that problem.

Read More: 49ers 2022 NFL Draft class: Stock watch after rookie minicamp

The Niners would love to get Jason Verrett healthy, but unfortunately, that’s easier said than done. The outside corners are still pretty solid, though, with free-agent signing Charvarius Ward and returning starter Emmanuel Moseley a pretty solid duo if Verrett can’t get healthy.

So the question is now slot quarterback.

Samuel Womack poised to be a day-one 49ers starter?

K’Waun Williams was an excellent player for San Francisco, but he left in free agency to join the Denver Broncos, and there isn’t a real alternative yet.

One potential starter, however is Samuel Womack, the fifth-round rookie out of Toledo who was punching above his weight as far as minicamp performances are concerned.

The real question is what alternative is there?

Darqueze Dennard and Dontae Johnson are versatile cornerbacks who could fill in the slot, but they’re not exactly players you would trust on the field all game. Deommodore Lenoir didn’t shine on the field last year, and it’s worth noting the 49ers can’t be that enamored with him if they were willing to pay Ward a lot of money and make two additional picks in the draft, the first of which was on Womack.

Admittedly, the Niners aren’t going to start Womack if Verrett does get healthy again (Moseley will move into the slot in that situation), but given Verrett’s injury history, it’s an unfortunate reality that you’d be smarter to bet on him getting hurt instead of playing 17-plus games.

Training camp is the chance for Womack to shine. He’s been impressive so far, but he also hasn’t had much experience against San Francisco’s top receivers just yet.

If Womack can continue to impress, though, it’s not out of the realm of possibility he’s another fifth-round rookie who turns out to be a gem.

Next. 49ers roster: 4 low-profile, still-important training camp battles to watch. dark