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According to defensive coordinator Jim O'Neil, it is looking like the duo of Tramaine Brock and Jimmie Ward may be the San Francisco 49ers' starting cornerbacks going into the 2016 season.
"It's looking that way," O'Neil said. "Jimmie hasn't really been tested in a game but he's done a great job in three practices." The three practices that he is referring to are the joint-practices against the Houston Texans and Denver Broncos.
Ward was the 49ers' highest rated defensive back last season, per Pro Football Focus. That includes the team's safeties. However, 2016 may be the most significant playing time he will see as he heads into his third NFL season.
O'Neil stated that Rashard Robinson and Keith Reaser are also in the mix for the starting job, but it looks like it is Ward that has a good grasp on the position right now and that he is the man to beat.
As for third-round draft selection Will Redmond, O'Neil wasn't so quick to deem him fit to compete. After all, he has not yet appeared in a preseason game. "I don't know if he's all the way back yet," O'Neil said today. The rookie has been working his way back from an ACL tear that he suffered last year.
"He's done a really good job battling through his knee and playing through some discomfort," said O'Neil regarding Redmond back on August 16. "That's just part of the progression for him. But, he's a guy we're excited about as a defense. So, the sooner we can get him out there, the better."