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49ers release Darqueze Dennard; waive 3 others

2 former Fresno State players were waived.

San Francisco 49ers v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

That didn’t take long. The 49ers gave quite the vote of confidence to Samuel Womack as they waived started slot cornerback Darqueze Dennard Monday. This may come as a mild surprise given Dennard’s recent praise from the coaching staff and how he “learned the playbook overnight,” but he struggled Friday.

In coverage, he was guarding grass. That’s a no-no. Also, if you’re going to play in the slot in this defense, you have to be a stout-run defender. That means you can’t get caught running seven yards upfield, as Dennard did below:

You can see the difference in Womack’s trigger and how he doesn’t overrun the running back on the last two plays. When the rookie is a better run defender, athlete and showed all game he’s better in coverage, there wasn’t much of a decision for the 49ers to make.

Ride the rookie, take the lumps that come with playing a young guy, and bet on the talent around him while he improves with more playing time.

Aside from Womack, Dontae Johnson, who has been playing safety, and Qwantrezz Knight and Deommodore Lenoir remain as potential slot options. But let’s not kid ourselves; Womack won the job Friday.

Fullback Josh Hokit, WR KeeSean Johnson, and DT Tomasi Kaulile were waived. The team could bring a player back later in this season. They did the same thing with Colton McKivitz last year.