During a conference call on Monday, San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan was asked if he was satisfied with the depth after the team lost Jason Verrett with a torn ACL for the season:
“Losing a player like Jason is a pretty big deal just because of the type of person he is and how good of a player he is. I’m glad we were ahead of the case, bringing in [CB] Josh [Norman] last week. And we should get E-Man [CB Emmanuel Moseley] back soon. I can’t guarantee this week but I’m holding out hope for it. With that being the case, I feel like we’ve got enough guys in our building. But that’s something that you’ve always got to look to see if there’s any way you can improve. You always do that.”
The 49ers are adding to that cornerback depth by signing veteran cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick, per Ian Rapoport.
Kirkpatrick was one of the names listed when we talked about the five cornerbacks the 49ers should pursue earlier on Monday:
Dre Kirkpatrick - Free agent
The week training camp began, the 49ers worked out Kirkpatrick. During the same interview with KNBR, Rapoport said Kirkpatrick was previously unvaccinated. I wonder how much that played a part in him not signing with the 49ers.
Rapoport confirmed that Kirkpatrick is now vaccinated, and he could be more of an immediate option than Sherman.
“Hey Dre, do you want to play for the Texans, who may have just won their final game of the season, or us, where you’ll look better than ever with our defensive line.” - Lynch, probably.
If Kirkpatrick is healthy, he’d be an upgrade over Dontae Johnson and Ambry Thomas, and the 49ers wouldn’t have to accelerate Demmodore Lenoir’s learning curve.
Kirkpatrick started 11 games last season for the Cardinals. He allowed a completion percentage of 63.3 on 79 targets for 6.8 yards per target. Kirkpatrick allowed two touchdowns while breaking up four passes and had three interceptions.
Kirkpatrick will have a week to learn the playbook and get up to speed before the 49ers play a Philadelphia Eagles offense that loves to get their athletes in space and utilize their athleticism. Jalen Hurts, and his mobility will also be something the secondary must account for.
Let’s see if Kirkpatrick ends up starting over Josh Norman, Emmanuel Moseley, or remains on the bench. Then you have Demmodore Lenoir, who the Niners may continue to allow and play after a strong showing against the Lions:
49ers' CB Deommodore Lenoir as a nearest defender, per NFL Next Gen Stats:— Seth Walder (@SethWalder) September 12, 2021
55 coverage snaps, 4 targets, 1 reception, 3 yards allowed.
Numbers-wise that's quite the debut for the 5th-round rookie.
Which combination do you think would be the best moving forward for the 49ers? If they were all healthy, I'd guess Kirkpatrick and Moseley — though it’s a fun exercise to walk through all of the possibilities once you include Ambry Thomas.