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49ers depth chart 2017: Are they better, worse or the same at cornerback?

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The 49ers are extremely unproven at the cornerback position. Is that better than last year?

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Minnesota Vikings Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Cornerback is one of the scariest positions to be weak at in the modern NFL, and the San Francisco 49ers are certainly looking at that possibility. They’ve done relatively well with free agent pickups at the position in recent years, and Tramaine Brock was a home-grown talent success to an extent, but they’ve moved on from him.

The 49ers lack a true No. 1 cornerback, and have for a very long time, really. They’ve scraped by with an above average units some years, but others they have fallen completely flat. That could easily be the case in 2017.

Jimmie Ward was probably the best corner the 49ers had a season ago, and they have moved him over to free safety. Now Rashard Robinson, a backup from last season, is the team’s top cornerback after a strong training camp (and weak preseason). Dontae Johnson, a draftee that has been decidedly average thus far, was also a backup primarily last season, but eventually worked his way into the starting lineup.

K’Waun Williams is the team’s new nickel corner and I think it’s an improvement over Chris Davis and whoever else filled the role a year ago, save for when Ward moved inside to cover the slot. Williams is a tailor-made nickel corner and he can at least be called above-average at the position.

I’m not sure we can saw that for Johnson, Robinson or Reaser. Witherspoon, a rookie, has a lot of potential and I tend to think he’ll develop into a true starter, but for now he’s very raw and not much of a factor.

2016 CB depth chart

LCB: Tramaine Brock, Rashard Robinson, Dontae Johnson
RCB: Jimmie Ward, Keith Reaser
Nickle: Chris Davis

2017 CB depth chart

LCB: Rashard Robinson, Keith Reaser
RCB: Dontae Johnson, Ahkello Witherspoon
Nickle: K’Waun Williams

You know the drill by now — we want to know which Week 1 unit is better. For me, I’m going with 2016, even though the 49ers haven’t “really” lost Ward. He was a good corner, and I’m not sold on Robinson. Williams is the only cornerback on the roster I have any level of confidence in, and he’s not a superstar by any stretch of the imagination.

Poll

Are the 49ers better, worse or the same at cornerback compared to the start of 2016?

This poll is closed

  • 37%
    Better
    (537 votes)
  • 32%
    Worse
    (463 votes)
  • 30%
    Same
    (432 votes)
1432 votes total Vote Now