Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

John Lynch feels good about the 49ers’ investments to improve the defensive backfield

May 3, 2019 at 10:53 AM--

Most expected the San Francisco 49ers to invest in a cornerback or safety during the draft — perhaps both. The team did select a cornerback, Tim Harris out of Virginia, but waited until its final selection to do so.

General manager John Lynch joined 95.7 The Game on Friday morning and said the belief that the 49ers have ignored the defensive backfield isn't true. He discussed the cornerback position first.

"You look at our investments; last year, we added Richard Sherman, Tarvarius Moore as a third-round pick at corner," Lynch said on the "Joe, Lo and Dibs" show. "He was a convert to corner. He had played safety in college, so he started to learn the details of that position.

"This year, we went out and invested in Jason Verrett. Jason Verrett is an [Pro Bowl] football player when healthy. He hasn't been healthy, so there's a lot of risk-reward there but we wanted to add there, and we took a gamble. We think that's a good flyer.

"We also added Tim Harris, who has the talent. He's got a ways to go in terms of putting it all together, but he's got that height, weight, speed, and also the ability to get in and out of breaks. So there's a lot to like. We feel like we have invested."

Lynch went on to say Sherman should be improved in 2019 thanks to him being healthier than last year. He feels Sherman has looked good so far during the 49ers' offseason program. Lynch didn't mention Ahkello Witherspoon, whom the team invested a third-round pick in during the 2017 draft.

Lynch then moved on to discuss the safety position, saying the team likes Jaquiski Tartt.

"Last year, he struggled with stingers," Lynch said. "Hopefully this year, he's been working extremely hard, he comes out of it healthy. Jimmie Ward and Adrian Colbert are guys who were injured last year but guys we believe in."

The defensive unit managed to haul in an NFL-record-low two interceptions last year. Both of those came from the safety position. Lynch believes turnovers begin up front and the 49ers have invested heavily in their defensive line, including using the No. 2 overall pick on pass rusher Nick Bosa out of Ohio State.

"What we tried to do is focus on up front and building a unit, and that's been going on prior to us getting here with (Arik) Armstead and (DeForest) Buckner," Lynch continued. "But we want to keep adding there to where we're a force to be reckoned with on a game-in-game-out basis. I think when we start generating that heat up front and knocking quarterbacks down all the time, the turnovers will start to come."

You can listen to the entire interview with Lynch below.

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