The 49ers wrapped up a padless day seven of training camp as the offense looks to catch up with the defense. Several positions can be won out, including center, both guard spots, and nickel cornerback, to name a few. However, I’ve been clamoring for the Niners to address the strong safety position since they held the 61st pick in the NFL Draft.
A few things have been different since that article came out. Deebo Samuel was extended, Tarvarius Moore has practiced with spunk, and the new and improved cornerback group looks to avenge the 64 passes that gained 20 or more yards last year. Talanoa Hufanga has manned the first team defense through camp, and I expressed my concerns in my five questions for Niners training camp.
I figured it was time to shed light on a possible sleeper on San Francisco’s roster. Tayler Hawkins, an undrafted cornerback transitioning, is looking for a way to find himself on the 53-man roster. The five-year player out of San Diego State has game experience at strong safety and boundary corner. Hawkins plays with a high motor and can be physical at the line of scrimmage, but he will have to show he can be rangy in the NFL.
Hawkins needs to make noise in 1-on-1s and team sessions. Getting his hands on a few passes and being sticky in coverage will earn him a spot on the team. I don't think there will be any struggles against the run as he packs a good punch and is a willing tackler on film.
Ultimately, Hawkins has a deep hole to climb out of to see some playing time. The preseason games will be the best time for Hawkins to show the world what he's got. Hopefully, we will hear his name ring some bells in practice soon.