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. 

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.

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