Optimism remains at an all-time high for each team before Week 1. Every fanbase believes their team has a chance this year. But, if you think I’m kidding, Bengals fans refuse to hear anything other than them making the playoffs this season.
The San Francisco 49ers have plenty of reason to believe this year will be a success. Since he's been under center in the Bay Area, Jimmy Garoppolo will have the best cast of weapons surrounding him. The future of the franchise awaits his turn behind Jimmy G, while the offensive line is also the best it's been under Kyle Shanahan’s tenure.
On the other side of the ball, Nick Bosa and Dee Ford are healthy, and the depth along the defensive line is the best in the NFL. Depth isn’t an issue at either linebacker or safety, but you cannot say the same for cornerback.
We’ll find out after Wednesday’s practice if anything is up injury-wise with starter Emmanuel Moseley. While Demmodore Lenoir impressed during the preseason, there’s a gap between him and the starters.
The Athletic went through each team's biggest worry heading into the season. For the Niners, they chose cornerback:
The worry: A cornerback position that was a liability with Richard Sherman on the team remains a liability without him.
“Obviously, quarterback is the concern, what happens there, but they need a defensive presence on the back end. Their pass rush is so good. If they are not able to stay healthy on their defensive line, that secondary is going to get exposed. Their corner situations sucked last year. Teams really feasted on them. Are they better? Maybe they make a move for Stephon Gilmore at some point. I think they need someone.”
If we assume the 49ers will be as good as most of us or ESPN’s recent simulation suggests, then I’d be surprised if there wasn’t an in-season trade ala Emmanuel Sanders. This time around, a wide receiver may be the second position of need.
Both Jason Verrett and Moseley have to make it through the season. Based on what we saw last year, it’s fair to suggest that Moseley’s play might not instill confidence in the front office. Of course, the play of the defensive line will have a lot to say about this.
If a player like Gilmore becomes available — the Patriots haven’t ruled out trading Gilmore, who will miss the first six weeks of the season with an injury on the PUP list — the 49ers figure to be near the top of the list to rent the veteran if the team feels like they’re in the running for a Super Bowl.
How do you think the 49ers cornerback position plays itself out this season? Will Verrett and Moseley be the starters come season's end? Will either Lenoir or Ambry Thomas wind up playing, or could we see an in-season trade?