I will be putting together a 53-man roster projection later today, and a full bubble watch later this week, but in the meantime I wanted to focus on one group of players: the secondary. Not the cornerbacks or the safeties, but rather both sets of players.
The San Francisco 49ers secondary has some questions because of the new faces, but there is talent in the group. We haven't seen the complete unit due to Tramaine Brock's injury, but we've seen bits and pieces. Dontae Johnson had a solid game in Week 1 against the Baltimore Ravens, and Kenneth Acker put together arguably the best performance on defense on Sunday against the Denver Broncos.
The question now is what to make of this mix of players. The 49ers cannot keep everybody they want to keep, and the secondary is one area where it could prove problematic. As it currently stands, here is the full roster of cornerbacks and safeties that are on the active roster.
Cornerback: Tramaine Brock, Chris Culliver, Perrish Cox, Chris Cook, Darryl Morris, Dontae Johnson, Kenneth Acker
Defensive Back: Jimmie Ward
Safety: Eric Reid, Antoine Bethea, Craig Dahl, C.J. Spillman, Raymond Ventrone, D.J. Campbell, L.J. McCray
I list Ward separately because he is currently starting at nickel back, but also getting extensive work at safety. I'd be more inclined to list him as a cornerback for now, but I'll separate him out so there is no confusion.
In my last 53-man roster projection, a week ago, I had the following players:
CB (6): Tramaine Brock, Chris Culliver, Perrish Cox, Chris Cook, Darryl Morris, Dontae Johnson
DB (1): Jimmie Ward
FS (2): Eric Reid, Craig Dahl
SS (3): Antoine Bethea, C.J. Spillman, Raymond Ventrone
In the bubble watch leading up to Sunday's game, I had Kenneth Acker and Raymond Ventrone as weak bubble. Ventrone probably should not have been there since I've always figured he would get that special teams role. And given what Barrows said about the starting kick return team, it makes me a little more certain (although not 100 percent).
It seems like Acker is building a case to either make the roster, or be claimed off waivers. Looking at the 53-man projection from last week, how does he fit in? I think Perrish Cox has all but locked up a spot given that he continues to play with the first team defense while Brock sits. Would they keep 13 defensive backs, or do we see one of the veteran safeties get cut? Another option is releasing Chris Cook. He's shown some things, so I'm not seeing that with any certainty, but maybe he is the last one standing when the music stops.
How does this all shake out in a couple weeks when the 49ers make their final roster cuts?