One of the San Francisco 49ers biggest question marks heading into the 2015 season is the cornerback position. Chris Culliver and Perrish Cox started for the vast majority of the season, and both departed in free agency. Tramaine Brock dealt with numerous injuries, and Jimmie Ward had his season cut short due to issues with his own previous foot injury.
A week into 2015 OTAs, we don't have a ton of clarification, but we might have a better handle on who at least is in the mix. There were mixed reports on Thursday about who was handling what roles in the secondary. Here are three reports on the position.
Shareece Wright and Dontae Johnson, and Keith Reaser and Marcus Cromartie were the cornerbacks on the first and second units. Tramaine Brock went through warmups but was not spotted during 11-on-11 drills. Reaser saw action at nickel back, too.
Tramaine Brock was present but didn't take part in team drills. The first-team cornerbacks were Marcus Cromartie and Dontae Johnson. Cromartie also played nickel cornerback -- Jimmie Ward still is coming back from last year's foot injury -- as did Keith Reaser, who is as fast as advertised. Leon McFadden also took some snaps at nickel cornerback.
[Keith] Reaser rotated with the first-team defense along with
Shareece Wright, Marcus Cromartie, Chris Cookand Dontae Johnson. Reaser also took reps as a nickel cornerback. There didn't appear to be an exact pecking order for the team's cornerbacks[.]
Keith Reaser is a name to keep an eye on heading into training camp. He's a speedy guy who appears to finally be recovered from a 2013 ACL injury that required a pair of surgeries. With Jimmie Ward recovering from his foot injury, and Tramaine Brock apparently dealing with something of his own, Reaser could be looking at a huge opportunity. And really, that applies to much of that group.
The team seems intent on getting Shareece Wright into the starting lineup, hoping for a Carlos Rogers like career resurgence. Marcus Cromartie and Leon McFadden both had notable draft pedigree, but struggled to turn it into anything in their previous stops. And Chris Cook got off to a solid start last season before an injury short-circuited his season.
They face a group of interesting young cornerbacks in Reaser and Kenneth Acker. Here's hoping that group includes a healthy Tramaine Brock and Jimmie Ward come training camp. The 49ers had great success with their previous defensive backs coach. We'll see if Tim Lewis can bring similar success to the position.