The San Francisco 49ers didn't eschew the cornerback position in the 2015 NFL Draft out of negligence or necessity. They weren't mostly inactive on the free agent market outside of the Shareece Wright signing because they don't know what they're doing. The 49ers had a very specific plan and that plan hinged on one important thing: the 49ers like the cornerbacks they have on the roster.
Eric Branch of SFGate.com wrote about this on Thursday and I thought it was worth highlighting in a post here -- the 49ers gave second-year corner Dontae Johnson a pretty significant vote of confidence this offseason. Johnson was pressed into duty last season, and while he didn't play perfectly, he did look a lot more suited to a starting role than first-round pick Jimmie Ward, at least in my opinion.
As far as last season goes, Johnson received more snaps than any other corner on the roster, making three starts with just over 500 snaps. That put him behind Perrish Cox and Chris Culliver, both guys who were good more often than naught last season but who the 49ers let walk in free agency. Cox joined the Tennessee Titans and Culliver joined Washington.
How did Johnson perform last season? I honestly felt it was a little better than some would say -- but I also think he wasn't used to the best of his abilities. Johnson fits the bill of an outside corner, but many of his slip-ups last season came in the slot, or at least that's what I saw from my end. What I saw was a rookie thrown in there before he was ready, but one who handled himself like a professional, didn't let the bad plays get to him and ultimately impressed.
San Francisco has Tramaine Brock, Chris Cook, Wright, Kenneth Acker and Keith Reaser at the position and I think it'll be interesting to see where everyone ends up. Brock has one of the starting jobs locked down, but if I'm picking between Johnson, Cook and Wright for one of the other starting spots, I'm going with Johnson. The 49ers obviously feel like they have the right guys on the roster and I don't disagree with that notion, but there are a lot of unproven guys at this stage.