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49ers cornerbacks: Better, worse, or same in 2017?

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A position by position look at the San Francisco 49ers’ roster, and whether the team is better, worse, or the same as the 2016 roster. Other positions: QB | RBWR | TEOT | OG | C | LB | CB | S

The San Francisco 49ers face a lot of questions surrounding their roster in 2017, with the new front office and coaching staff bringing numerous changes. It is going to take some time to figure out where this team stands. The team was incredibly active in free agency, and followed that with plenty of work in the 2017 NFL Draft.

With that in mind, I thought we would take a look at each position, compare it to various points last year, and consider whether the unit is better, worse, or the same compared to last year. The table includes the current group of players, and then a list of players on the 90-man roster for the first preseason game, the players on the Week 1 53-man roster, and the players on the Week 17 53-man roster. The idea is to compare this year with last year across the board. The roster changes from August to December, so I’m including three separate markers just to provide an overall view of the position last year.

We move on to the cornerback position.

Cornerback changes, 2016-to-2017

Current 2016 preseason 2016 - Week 1 2016 - Week 17
Current 2016 preseason 2016 - Week 1 2016 - Week 17
Rashard Robinson Tramaine Brock Tramaine Brock Tramaine Brock
Dontae Johnson Jimmie Ward Jimmie Ward Rashard Robinson
Keith Reaser Kenneth Acker Dontae Johnson Keith Reaser
Ahkello Witherspoon Chris Davis Rashard Robinson Dontae Johnson
K'Waun Williams Keith Reaser Chris Davis JaCorey Shepherd
Will Redmond Rashard Robinson Keith Reaser Prince Charles Iworah
Will Davis Dontae Johnson Prince Charles Iworah (PS) Duke Thomas (PS)
Adrian Colbert Will Redmond Will Redmond (IR) Jimmie Ward (IR)
Prince Charles Iworah Prince Charles Iworah N/A Chris Davis (IR)
Zach Franklin Cleveland Wallace N/A Will Redmond (IR)

The 49ers have turned over quite a few positions, and the cornerback position could end up among the most significant. The team released Tramaine Brock and moved Jimmie Ward to free safety. Chris Davis opened last season as the nickel back, only to suffer an ACL tear.

Rashard Robinson and Keith Reaser replaced Davis over the course of the rest of the season, and both figure prominently in the new depth chart. Robinson appears to have secured one of the starting jobs. Reaser is competing with fellow veteran Dontae Johnson and third round pick Ahkello Witherspoon for the other starting job.

The nickel will in turn see its own turnover. Robinson’s move up the depth chart leaves Will Redmond and K’Waun Williams competing for the third corner role. Redmond spent most of last season on an injured list, and Williams was signed this year after missing last year with an ankle injury. They would likely also have the losers of the starting corner job competing for some opportunities, so this group is in a bit of flux.

The 49ers are making changes to their defense, and one hopes we see some more aggressiveness from the group. That seems right up Robinson’s alley, but it remains to be seen how this will play out over the next year. Ideally, Witherspoon secures a starting job opposite Robinson sooner rather than later. How Witherspoon emerges could dictate what we think of this unit by the end of the season.

Poll

Are the 49ers better, worse, or the same at CB in 2017 as compared to 2016?

This poll is closed

  • 62%
    Better
    (446 votes)
  • 14%
    Worse
    (104 votes)
  • 22%
    Same
    (160 votes)
710 votes total Vote Now