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49ers waiver claim C.J. Goodwin moved to cornerback after covering Julio Jones in practice

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The 49ers continue to search for big, physical cornerbacks.

The San Francisco 49ers made a waiver claim on Tuesday, grabbing cornerback C.J. Goodwin. John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan have had success with waiver claims, including Sheldon Day and Cassius Marsh this past season. Waiver claims are fairly low risk maneuvers, and the 49ers are hoping to cash in on Goodwin’s physical assets.

Goodwin stands 6’4 and weighs 220 pounds. He is the biggest cornerback on the 49ers roster, and ran a 4.41 40 at a regional combine in 2014.

Goodwin appears physically gifted, but is also incredibly raw. He did not start playing football until his senior year of high school. He originally intended on pursuing basketball into college, but football worked out. He bounced between Bethany College, Fairmont State, and California University of Pennsylvania.

He actually came out of college as a wide receiver and did not switch to cornerback until he joined the Atlanta Falcons in 2016. He had signed with the Falcons practice squad in November 2015. As a member of the practice squad, a player is expected to take on whatever job is asked of him. When a team is implementing their game plan each week, they will use the practice squad and other reserves as a scout team defense and offense. In this case, Goodwin took on the cornerback role at times and apparently did enough to impress the Falcons coaching staff.

In 2016, Goodwin earned a roster spot as cornerback. He played 116 defensive snaps and 286 special teams snaps in 2016. In 2017, he played 69 defensive snaps and 217 special teams snaps. The Falcons waived him in December and he was claimed by Arizona. He played exclusively special teams to close out the season.

A waiver claim is a low risk lottery ticket. Sure, you could make room by clearing out a player who turns out better, but players getting waived are usually running low on chances anyway. Goodwin brings tremendous size to the 49ers secondary. He’s got a long road ahead in this competition, but as they say, you can’t teach that kind of size.