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Cornerback bubble watch comes down to maybe two roster spots

The San Francisco 49ers are overhauling the cornerback position. They conceivably have eight players competing for two jobs.

The San Francisco 49ers wrapped up minicamp and are now a month away from the start of training camp. The 90-man roster is just about set, although a transaction here or there would not be entirely shocking. Shortly after the draft we put together a complete roster bubble watch, and now it’s time to re-visit it. The offseason workout program did not lock in most roster spots, but it might give us some hints here and there.

Over the next two weeks, we’re going to take a look at each position, and what the bubble watch looks like. As we’ve done for a while now, the bubble watch breaks down to lock, strong bubble, weak bubble, and longshot. For some positions, we’ll have multiple players listed at strong bubble, even though not all are likely to make the roster. But the idea is that they both stand a good shot, even if it is just one of them. Additionally, this does not reflect whether or not a player will be traded. Trades can and probably will happen during training camp, but the positioning on this focuses on whether or not they’d be cut.

Running back
Wide receiver
Tight end
Offensive Line
Defensive Line

Today, we move on to the cornerbacks.

Lock: Richard Sherman, Ahkello Witherspoon, Jimmie Ward, Tarvarius Moore
Strong Bubble: K’Waun Williams, Greg Mabin, D.J. Reed, Tyvis Powell
Weak Bubble: Trovon Reed, Tarvarus McFadden, C.J. Goodwin
Longshot: Emmanuel Moseley

The San Francisco 49ers continue their overhaul at the cornerback position. The team added Richard Sherman in free agency, drafted Tarvarius Moore, signed UDFA Tarvarus McFadden, and claimed C.J. Goodwin off waivers. Oh, and they moved Jimmie Ward back from safety.

One notable change to this one involved Tyvis Powell. I had previously listed him as a longshot safety, but he got significant practice time at cornerback in OTAs and minicamp. With Richard Sherman sidelined, Powell got some first team work at times. Sherman’s return will bump Powell down the depth chart, but clearly he is no long shot. I might have over-corrected on this bubble watch, but clearly the team wants to see what he can do at cornerback.

The 49ers carried five cornerbacks for much of last season, getting up to six later in the season, and closing out the year with seven. My guess is they end up carrying five or six at most. Aside from the four locks above, K’Waun Williams has as good a chance as anybody. But given the addition of Reed as a potential slot corner, he could face stiff competition. I could see Williams and Reed both making the roster at this point, with Mabin and Powell on the short end of the stick.

Mabin is a question mark right now. The team was developing an opportunity for him last year when Dontae Johnson was struggling. However, a calf injury cut that opportunity short. Sometimes you only get one chance, and given the continued overhaul at the position, that might have been Mabin’s one big shot with the 49ers.