Coming off a season where the most casual 49er fan could spot the defensive coordinator didn’t trust the cornerbacks on the field, could the Niners’ secondary turn into a strength in 2022?
Larry Kreuger believes we should stop worrying about who starts opposite of Jimmie Ward, as Talanoa Hufanga looks poised for a big season based on minicamp:
I think Hufanga is looking better, and better, and better. When you watch him, he looks a little quicker, a half step faster, and he was already playing at a really high level at the end of last year.
He’s a guy that’s settling in. They already love him. DeMeco [Ryans] spoke glowingly of him. When you watch him on the field, he plays with confidence. He moves with confidence.
And Jimmie Ward is in incredible shape. He looks like he could play Sunday. I think safety and overall that secondary, with the addition of Charvarius Ward, I could see the secondary being maybe the strength of that defense.
Larry said the strength could shift from the defensive line to the secondary, which might seem like a scorching hot take.
We’re in June, and there’s rarely anything to glean from OTAs. Half of the starters aren’t present. The players aren’t wearing pads. They’re not playing real football. That doesn’t mean we can’t fire up the hypothetical machine.
One question we discussed was who plays more snaps for the 49ers in 2022, Ambry Thomas or Samuel Womack? Here’s Larry:
I would say it’ll probably be Thomas, but they’re both key cogs. Thomas also looks better. He looks better than he did at the end of last year. And that’s a great thing to see. As long as the arrow keeps pointing up, that’s good.
I thought Thomas looked like a fish out of water in camp last year. Early in the year, he looked very tentative. Then he got a little better. Then, by the end of the year, I think you could make an argument that he was their best cover man.
Watching Thomas in training camp last year, he looked like he should’ve been undrafted. He looked like he had no confidence. I know he timed well and ran fast, but he didn’t play fast. Then, toward the end of the year, Thomas stopped thinking so much and started playing football.
Larry said Womack showed an incredible amount of confidence during minicamp. Womack walked around with a strut and looked like he belonged.
So, if Womack and Thomas are duking it out for a spot, and there’s still Jason Verrett, Tariq Castro-Fields, Darqueze Dennard, and Dontae Johnson, is there room for Deommodore Lenoir to make the roster?
This is the first time in a long, long time that the 49ers have a handful of cornerbacks who are competent. Shoot, they struggled to find one consistent cornerback last year until the end of the season. Lenoir has an uphill battle, as there are veterans and recent draft picks he has to beat out. Do you think he makes the team?