49ers 53-man roster projection: Cornerback

With the training camp starting a week from today, now is the perfect time to look at each of the position groups on the San Francisco 49ers roster and predict who will make the 53-man roster.

We have covered the offense, defensive line, and linebacker; today, we turn our attention to the cornerbacks. 

On the roster: Tariq Castro-Fields, Darqueze Dennard, Ka’dar Hollman, Dontae Johnson, Emmanuel Moseley, Ambry Thomas, Charvarius Ward, Samuel Womack, Deommodore Lenoir, Jason Verrett 

Analysis: The 49ers lone splash signing was the addition of Charvarius Ward. A Super Bowl champion during his time in Kansas City, the veteran is coming off a season in which he allowed opposing quarterbacks to complete only 51% of their passes into his coverage and a passer rating of 79.4. 

Ward provides something San Francisco sorely lacked throughout 2021, the ability to shut down opposing receivers in man coverage. 

Last season the 49ers were often forced to play soft coverage in the secondary to keep from allowing big plays over the top and reduce pass interference penalties. With the addition of Ward, DeMeco Ryans’ secondary can become more aggressive. The tighter coverage should lead to more opportunities for Nick Bosa and the 49ers pass rush to get to the quarterback. In addition to additional pressure, tighter coverage on the back end could lead to more opportunities for turnovers off tipped passes.

Question marks: The health of Jason Verrett

Coming off a stellar 2020 season, Verrett was expected to be the cornerstone of the 49ers secondary. However, an injury in the season opener in Detroit ended his season almost as soon as it started. 

San Francisco chose to bring Verrett back this offseason, signing the veteran to a one-year, $1.035 contract. 

Verrett’s presence on the roster could pay big dividends for the 49ers. After all, Verrett is among the best cornerbacks in the NFL when healthy. 

Who will start at nickel?

San Francisco lost K’Waun Williams to Denver in free agency, leaving them with a hole in the slot. 

Darqueze Dennard was the first man up throughout OTAs and minicamp. Dennard was a first-round draft pick of the Cincinnati Bengals in 2014. He joined the 49ers late in 2021 and played in the slot throughout the second half of their week 18 victory over the Rams to secure a playoff spot. 

Samuel Womack also looked good inside throughout OTA and minicamp practices. The fifth-round draft pick from Akron showed off his ability to be tight in man coverage. If Womack can improve in zone coverage and prove he can make stops in run support, he could emerge as the leading candidate inside. 

Don’t rule out Emmanuel Moseley. The 49ers could choose to move him inside in nickel or dime situations with Ambry Thomas coming in to play on the outside. This is something San Francisco did with much success with Carlos Rogers under Jim Harbaugh. 

Others in the mix include Deommodore Lenoir, Qwuantrezz Knight, and Dontae Johnson.

53-man Roster Projection: (7) Charvarius Ward, Emmanuel Moseley, Ambry Thomas, Deommodore Lenoir, Tariq Castro-Fields, Darqueze Dennard, Samuel Womack. Jason Verrett will start the season on the PUP list, and Dontae Johnson will be on the practice squad.

This article has 4 Comments

  1. I don’t think you can count on Verrett for any snaps. He’s a top tier CB when healthy but you can’t build a roster expecting him to be healthy. I really liked Jet but I have to say I think Dennard could be a step up. Jet lost a little bit last year. And I was talking to a guy from KC about Ward. He said he couldn’t believe the 49ers signed him for such a big deal. Basically said Ward is alright but not a great CB. Kind of put a damper on my excitement for that signing.

  2. I love Verrett. I know that we can not make plans for him to start yet, but if he is what he was a couple of years ago, we have a lockdown CB. Great team guy also. Crossing my fingers he shows well in camp. Ambry Thomas will be intriguing as well

  3. CB’s are decent with depth. If Ambry doesn’t start you feel pretty comfortable if he has to come in for Moseley or C. Ward.

  4. This list is heavily dependent on Verrett health.

    I think he start the list on PUP. But gets activated mid season. With respect I’m going with
    LCB – Ward, RCB – Moseley, Slot – Womack
    CB4-Ambry, CB5-Dennard, CB6-Lenoir. Lenoir and Dennard have to be special team aces to make the squad. If not, Dontae Johnson will make the team over one of them. He’s very good on STs.

    Castro-Fields is going to convert to FS. He’s terrible in press and man to man. He’s much better playing in Zone and a very good tackler. Look for him to go to the PS in addition to Lenoir if Dontae beats him for CB6.

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