Each year, we run a series of post called "90-in-90" here at Niners Nation. The idea is that we'll take a look at every single player on the roster, from the very bottom to the top and break them down a few different ways. This is to help give everyone a basic understanding of a roster. Of course, this roster will change, and some days we'll have more than one so it's not strictly one per day but Fooch is a crazy person who manages this blog with no rhyme or reason and it's worked so far. Who am I to argue?
The San Francisco 49ers saw both their starting cornerbacks depart in free agency this year, and will feature a mix of new and returning options in their secondary. Tramaine Brock and Shareece Wright have been discussed frequently as potential starters, with Keith Reaser among those impressing in minicamp.
One guy who is flying a bit under the radar is Chris Cook. The 49ers signed Cook to a one-year deal a year ago coming off a disappointing start to his career in Minnesota. Cook got off to a solid start in San Francisco, coming on when the 49ers would go with a four cornerback look and when injuries popped up. He was fairly solid during the first two months of the season, but his season was cut short by a hamstring injury. He suffered the injury in Week 7, and was subsequently placed on injured reserve. The 49ers re-signed Cook to a one-year deal this past March.
Why he might improve in 2015:
Cook dealt with plenty of inconsistency in Minnesota, but coming to San Francisco gave him a chance to work with well-respected cornerback coach Ed Donatell. Although Donatell is out the door, he has been replaced by another respected defensive backs coach in the form of Tim Lewis. The departure of Chris Culliver and Perrish Cox, combined with the injury concerns among some of the current cornerbacks could open the door for more opportunities. Consistent opportunities could help him improve on what was a decent start to 2014.
Why he might regress in 2015:
Consistent playing time is far from a guarantee, especially with the quantity of talented young cornerbacks on the roster. Cook did some solid work in 2014, but his history has been inconsistent. Cook is probably not old enough to see a physical decline, but he may never be a consistent cornerback in the NFL. Of course, that could make him a useful option in the limited dime role.
Odds of making the roster:
He faces a tough challenge from several talented young cornerbacks, but if the team thinks he can build on last year's limited role, I'd say his chances are pretty solid. Right now, the cornerback depth chart includes:
Tramaine Brock could very well end up a cap casualty if enough cornerbacks emerge in August. He dealt with multiple injuries last season, and missed a chunk of the offseason workout program dealing with a leg issue. He returned for much of minicamp, so that bodes well moving forward. The question becomes what happens with all the young cornerbacks. Kenneth Acker looked good last year in the preseason, while Keith Reaser has impressed this offseason.
Jimmie Ward's foot injury is a big wild card. He is set to be the nickel back, and the coaching staff expects him back for training camp. Hopefully he recovers sufficiently, but if not, that potentially opens the door for another cornerback. Right now, we very well could see a depth chart that includes Brock, Wright, Ward, Johnson, Cook, Reaser and Acker. Last year, the team kept six cornerbacks (if you include Ward, who is usually listed as a "defensive back"), including Brock, Culliver, Cook, Cox, Johnson and Ward. Could Cook be battling Reaser and Acker for a spot?