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

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The 49ers return many of the same faces, but still made big changes at safety.

NFL: Denver Broncos at San Francisco 49ers Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers have had strong safety play over the last few years. Eric Reid, aside from one extremely poor half a season, has been very good since the team drafted him. Jimmie Ward has also been very good, even if his position has been in limbo over the years. Antoine Bethea and Donte Whitner were both excellent free agent pickups in their time and Jaquiski Tartt has all the makings of an elite safety.

But a new defensive scheme has things shaken up a little bit, and the 49ers will look a lot different at the position despite most of the same faces being involved. They moved on from Bethea, likely at the right time, and have switched Reid from free safety to strong safety, where his up-close, aggressive style of play should thrive.

Ward is now a dedicated free safety, and if he responds well there, he could be among the league’s top safeties. This means Tartt is the odd an out, but if the 49ers go with large nickel formations, Tartt could easily be the fifth defensive back on the field.

2016 Safety depth chart

FS: Eric Reid, Marcus Cromartie
SS: Antoine Bethea, Jaquiski Tartt

2017 Safety depth chart

FS: Jimmie Ward, Lorenzo Jerome, Adrian Colbert
SS: Eric Reid, Jaquiski Tartt

I feel like this new setup will be better than last year’s, personally, so I know what I’m going to vote in the poll below. The 49ers picked the right time to move on from Bethea.

Poll

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

This poll is closed

  • 83%
    Better
    (929 votes)
  • 3%
    Worse
    (42 votes)
  • 12%
    Same
    (137 votes)
1108 votes total Vote Now