San Francisco 49ers

49ers’ best draft fits: cornerback

49ers NFL Draft preview: Team with many needs could target top defenders

With the second pick in the April 27-29 NFL Draft, the San Francisco 49ers have multiple needs that could be addressed. Here is who they might pick in the first round, as well as names to look for in later rounds.
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With the second pick in the April 27-29 NFL Draft, the San Francisco 49ers have multiple needs that could be addressed. Here is who they might pick in the first round, as well as names to look for in later rounds.

This item is part of a series on the positions the 49ers will look to fill in the upcoming draft and the players that are the best fits at those spots. Today's position:

Cornerback

Description: The Seattle Seahawks have selected five cornerbacks in the last five drafts. None has been taken before the fifth round and none has been under 6-feet tall. The Seahawks want longer, physical cornerbacks because A.) the best receivers in the league are tall and physical; the top two in the upcoming draft are 6-4 Mike Williams and 6-3 Corey Davis and B.) the Seahawks like to play a lot of press coverage and re-route receivers to the boundaries. That requires size and strength. Richard Sherman has become their prototype at the position. He's 6-3, plays press coverage exceptionally well and is smart and savvy when the Seahawks play zone.

Who's there now: One of the advantages the 49ers have -- and which other defenses that hired ex-Seahawks coaches did not -- is that they started to see the brilliance of the defense several years ago and tried to mimic it in some ways. For example, last year's fourth-round pick, Rashard Robinson, fits many of the parameters of a typical Seahawks cornerback, and he played well in his six starts as a rookie. With Tramaine Brock no longer on the squad (and with Jeff Hafley remaining as the team's defensive backs coach), Robinson is a frontrunner to win one of the starting roles this season. Other candidates include Dontae Johnson, who at 6-2, 200 also fits the prototype, and last year's third-round pick Will Redmond, who should be fully recovered from 2015's ACL tear.

Need level: 4.1

Perfect fit: This year's draft is absolutely teeming with big-bodied cornerbacks and the 49ers will work out two of them -- 6-3 Kevin King from Washington and 6-0 Chidobe Awuzie from Colorado -- this week. Two others, Ohio State's Marshon Lattimore (6-0) and Colorado's Ahkello Witherspoon (6-3) already have visited the team. Others: Quincy Wilson, Florida; Rasul Douglas, West Virginia; Cordrea Tankersley, Clemson.

From earlier:

Left or ‘big’ defensive end

Strong-side linebacker

Nose tackle

Three technique

‘Elephant’ or ‘Leo’ defensive end

Weak-side linebacker

Middle linebacker

strong safety

free safety

Matt Barrows: @mattbarrows, read more about the team at sacbee.com/sf49ers.

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