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Free agent sleepers 2016: Are there potential discount cornerbacks?

The San Francisco 49ers have issues up and down the roster, but cornerback is one position that is not entirely clear. The team has Tramaine Brock, Dontae Johnson, Kenneth Acker, Keith Reaser, Marcus Cromartie, and Chris Davis. Jimmie Ward will play the nickel back role, but is more defensive back with his ability to play safety.

The 49ers rotated between Johnson and Acker opposite Brock, with Reaser getting some cornerback work as well. It is possible the team is content with that group, but odds are good they will bring in some kind of competition. It remains to be seen if it will be through free agency or the draft, but I have to think there will be some additions.

Last week, Pro Football Focus put together an article for ESPN looking at ten potential sleeper free agents heading into the 2016 league year. PFF focused on defense, with eight of the ten players on that side of the ball. Those eight included the following four defensive backs:

Adam Jones, CB
Brandon Boykin, CB
Patrick Robinson, CB
Walter Thurmond, S

Per PFF, Boykin spent much of his time in the slot, which likely removes him from serious consideration at this point. Thurmond is an interesting one given his history with Chip Kelly. Here's what PFF had to say about Thurmond:

Chip Kelly's reputation as a GM is in tatters, but Thurmond is one of his quiet success stories. A former cornerback, Thurmond was brought in to play safety, and he ended the season as the 26th-rated safety with a score of 79.3. Thurmond earned positive grades in every facet of play PFF measures and was particularly effective on the blitz, where he notched two sacks, two hits and two hurries.

If Thurmond is viewed primarily as a safety now, it is unlikely the 49ers would make a run at him. But if he think he can play more of a hybrid role, maybe he ends up on the radar.

Patrick Robinson is a guy who probably won't get as much as Sean Smith, but will be at that second tier of cornerbacks. Any 49ers interest would be predicated on what they think of their own cornerbacks. That's what makes this so hard to figure out at the moment.