Chris Culliver expected to stick at cornerback, not move to safety

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

49ers GM Trent Baalke discussed the 49ers safety situation, and plans with Chris Culliver.

I had a couple different articles planned for yesterday afternoon, but once the reports about the non-executed trade of Jim Harbaugh to the Cleveland Browns, they all got shoved to the side. Now though it's time to start getting back to the important things. And why not start with one topic that has popped up every so often.

I have seen numerous comments and tweets over the last year suggesting the 49ers should move Chris Culliver from cornerback to safety. 49ers GM Trent Baalke met with the national media on Friday, but also spent some separate time with Bay Area media. During that latter session he said the team has not discussed moving Culliver to safety.

"There's been absolutely no discussion relative to that (moving Culliver to safety)," Baalke said Friday at the NFL Scouting Combine. "And I don't know why we even would discuss it. We feel awfully good about him as a corner. It (cornerback) is a tough position to find. And when you find a good, young one, you keep him where he's comfortable. And that's where he's most comfortable."

The 49ers safety situation remains up in the air. Donte Whitner is a free agent, and if he walks, that leaves the team with C.J. Spillman and Craig Dahl as their two primary options opposite Eric Reid. Culliver played safety in college before moving to cornerback, but the team seems happy with his development at corner, even after the knee injury.

If the 49ers let Donte Whitner walk, my gut says they look for a young safety in the early part of the draft. If you remove Whitner and some of the other more expensive free agent safeties off the board, there are not a lot of great options in free agency. If the team has a guy they like in the draft, they are in a position to move around the board as needed to make a move happen.

At cornerback, Tramaine Brock will start in one spot. Culliver could quickly work his way into the other starting role, but it remains to be seen what the cornerback depth chart will look like. Carlos Rogers remains on the roster, but could be released by the start of free agency. Tarell Brown is hitting free agency, and it seems likely that the team will let him test free agency. That opens up a lot of playing time opportunities. The team will add depth in free agency and the draft, but if Culliver is at or close to 100 percent later this offseason, one would think he's a favorite for the starting nod opposite Brock.

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