San Francisco 49ers

Q&A: Concerns about 49ers’ cornerback quality

ANS: A reason not to be concerned with quality of cornerbacks on the 49ers' roster is the quantity of cornerbacks available. (See what I did there?). The 49ers are throwing numbers at the issue with the expectation that somebody will step up an assert himself a starter caliber player.

Trent Baalke said earlier this year that veteran Shareece Wright -- who would be the starter if the season began Sunday -- was a lot like Carlos Rogers in a lot of ways. I think he meant that, like Rogers, Wright didn't have a lot of success in his first stop in the NFL but, like Rogers, could flourish when added to a better defense.

Finally, Baalke has shown he's good at finding cornerbacks late in the draft and even after the draft. This might be a Ted Thompson influence. Baalke, for example, really likes Keith Reaser, a fifth-round pick last year who missed his rookie season due to ACL complications. We shall see ...

serg ‏@serg_187: do you think if Kaep shows no progress this upcoming season and repeats from last season, do niners look to get rid of him?

ANS: The 49ers certainly will have that option the way his contract is structured. But they definitely seem to be moving ahead as if Kaepernick is their long-term quarterback. Drafting someone like punter Bradley Pinion is an example of the team looking for room in what promises to be a tight salary cap. Why is it tight? Because Kaepernick is under contract. More significant, I think, is that there's no heir apparent. Finding a starting-caliber quarterback in the NFL is extremely difficult as this most recent draft showed.

Matt Healey ‏@MattHealey: why Matt , you spoil us lol. Seriously though with a Jimmy T (who’s a big fan) in charge where does this leave Lawrence Okoye?

ANS: Okoye seemed like a big winner when Tomsula was hired as head coach. As you note, those winnings now look a bit diminished with Arik Armstead on the roster. (And will be more so if Justin Smith decides to come back). Okoye is a lot like Armstead -- tall, athletic, long-armed and even more powerful. The big difference, of course, is that Armstead has been playing football all his life. If Armstead is raw, Okoye is just being thawed. He has another year of practice squad eligibility.

MikeinSF ‏@MikeinSF2: Are Kendall Hunter and Reggie Bush competing for the same spot?

ANS: Maybe. It's not known how many running backs the team will keep but two spots seem earmarked for Carlos Hyde and draft pick Mike Davis. If you're asking because both Bush and Hunter are small-ish, change-of-pace runners, remember that Hunter and LaMichael James were on the same roster for two years (along with Frank Gore and Anthony Dixon).

Jason McCord ‏@jasondmccord: What was your favorite 49ers draft pick? What pick raised your eyebrows the most?

ANS: I liked Smelter because he’s big and physical. Any receiver can benefit from a year with Anquan Boldin, but someone with Smelter’s traits really could benefit. He also seems like the type of receiver who could compete in the rough-and-tumble NFC West.

Eyebrows? I didn’t see Pinion coming, of course, because Andy Lee has been so solid. But Jaquiski Tartt might have gotten the eyebrows raised even higher because the selection says so much about the other players at the position. It says the team is concerned about the injuries to Eric Reid (concussion) and Jimmie Ward (foot). And it’s a comment on Antoine Bethea’s future. Bethea was the best player on defense last year, someone whom coaches voted MVP.

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