The 49ers are thin at cornerback as Emmanuel Moseley started training camp on the Reserve/COVID list. Because of that, Tim Harris Jr. — the 198th pick in the 2019 NFL Draft — took reps with the starting defense during the Niners' initial practice.
It’s not a great sign when you are looking for cornerback depth after one practice, but the team also could stand to use another camp body but, more importantly, a veteran.
Because of this, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that San Francisco would work out former Arizona Cardinals and Cincinnati cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick on Friday. Kirkpatrick has played in 113 games with 78 career starts.
He started in 11 games for the Cardinals during 2020 and had three interceptions to go and seven pass breakups.
The 31-year-old missed Week 9 last year with a thigh injury and suffered a foot injury in October. Kirkpatrick has a lengthy injury history as he hyperextended his knee in October of ‘19, forcing him to miss the rest of the season. Kirkpatrick suffered a concussion the season before, missed one game due to a shoulder injury, another to an ankle injury, and the final game due to a shoulder injury.
Pro Football reference had him allowing a 66% completion rate on 94 targets and missing a tackle 16% of the time. Inconsistent is the best way to describe Kirkpatrick. He’ll have a boneheaded play like a penalty on third down, or get smoked by one of the Seahawks defenders, only to make a play during the next series.
Kirkpatrick will give up some plays, but he’s physical and has ball skills to challenge throws his way. Seemingly everyone who was at 49ers practice on Wednesday raved about the wide receivers, specifically Brandon Aiyuk.
Kirkpatrick would prevent the youngsters who aren’t ready to see the field, such as Harris Jr. We’ll see if Kirkpatrick impresses the Niners enough, but it’d be an indictment on the young cornerbacks if he is signed.