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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

A Lockdown Corner Could Be the Missing Piece for the 49ers

Mar 2, 2022 at 1:34 PM--

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When Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch took control over the organization, they made no secret about their philosophy to build and stockpile a dominant defensive line. The strategy has bared the fruits of a Super Bowl appearance and a loss in the NFC champions in two of the last three seasons. With all the hoopla surrounding the apparent change under center, it is likely going to be the changes made to the defensive backfield that will play a vital role in the team getting over the hump.

Signing a top-tier cornerback this off-season needs to be amongst the team's highest priorities. Hopefully, this time around they will have better luck in the free agency market. Either due to injury or taking a gamble on veterans on the back end of their careers, the 49ers have struck out when they've tried to bring in FA cornerbacks. Jason Verrett was poised to have a bounce-back season, prior to suffering an ACL injury in Week 1 versus the Lions. This injury flushed veteran defensive back Josh Norman, who signed after training camp, into a much larger role than the anticipated veteran voice in the locker room he was brought in to be. Norman's lack of productivity and penalties led to rookie Ambry Thomas seeing significant time as the season went on.

Although CB Thomas began to emerge over the last month of the season and into the playoffs, the 49ers have serious depth concerns outside of the sturdy play of CB Emmanuel Moseley. It is unclear if long time slot corner K'waun Williams will return next season and the aforementioned Varrett is set for free agency as well. Adding a lockdown corner this offseason would serve as the missing piece to a defense that has arguably the most dominant front seven in all of the NFL.

The easiest route to the playoffs is winning the division and with WRs DeAndre Hopkins, DK Metcalf, Odell Beckham Jr., and Cooper Kupp headlining the 49ers divisional opponents, the team's brass will likely have to pay top dollar to secure a shutdown defensive back. This year's free agency class is set to include, Stephon Gilmore, JC Jackson, Carlton Davis, and former 49er DJ Reed. All of which, barring Reed, is likely going to cost top dollar for the team who eventually signs them during this offseason.

With players who are clearly amongst the very best on each of the first two levels of their defense, in Nick Bosa and Fred Warner, not bringing in a top-level corner to sure up the back end of the defense could cost the 49ers a chance at bringing home the franchises 6th Lombardi Trophy.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


  • Rob
    Our team held the Rams to 17, Dallas to 16 and the Packers to 10. no way in 2022 NFL you should lose playoff games holding opponents that low. we were the only team that lost a game in the playoffs holding an oppoenent to 17 or less points. Pretty sure the offense was and is the problem. Biggest hindrance on the offense is the QB play.
    Mar 3, 2022 at 10:15 AM
    Response: I completely agree with your sentiment, however, in games such as the Titans and even the Colts and Cardinals, our cornerback play was exposed.
  • Zinn
    With the way the rules significantly favor the Receiver there are very few absolute "lock down corners".. I would prefer trying to draft some fast kids and perhaps attempt to sign an aging Stephen Gilmore to a one or two year deal. I could live with Emmanuel Mosley and Ambry Thomas type skill set as long as I have three or four guys at that level. You can easily overspend trying to find a holy grail type of corner. Build your D line for pressure and run stopping. Add quick aggressive LB's and Secondary players. Don't be surprised if Deommodore Lenoir takes a leap forward next season. He has speed.. Just needs to learn all the tricks of the trade and study his receivers more.
    Mar 2, 2022 at 3:06 PM
  • Tru
    You guys should just stick to links to 49er coverage. The analysis from the writers on this site is terrible. First JG is worth a 1st round pick, and you try to say his surgery wouldnt effect his worth. When in reality the 49ers will probably just have to cut him. I doubt they can get a 5th rounder for him. And now this nonsense. We need a lockdown CB! Let me ask you this: Who doesnt? Do you think they grow on trees son? Who stopped Cooper Kupp last year? Thats it, nobody. The 49ers need to continue their approach of building from the front. (U think their the best front 7? Do you watch football, other teams? We didnt even have the best front 7 in our last game. It is good, but hardly elite.) Had we not got ripped off by the Chiefs and Dee Ford you guys would have a different perspective on what an elite pass rush looks like. Theres no sense of these writers being in touch. DJ Jones and Laken Tomlinson are going to command so much money that I doubt the 49ers can keep both of them. I highly doubt they can afford a Carlton Davis or JC Jackson. Therefore your best bet is in the draft. And guess what? Its better to draft a pass rusher first then
    Mar 2, 2022 at 2:39 PM


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