Do the 49ers have a weakness?
The team is coming off a Super Bowl season and is stacked with good, young players on both offense and defense. According to the analytic website Pro Football Focus, the Niners have the third-best roster in the NFL, behind Baltimore and New Orleans.
But Ben Linsey of Pro Football Focus says the team could have made some moves this offseason to strengthen its cornerback corps.
Writes Linsey: “Richard Sherman was excellent during the 2019 season – earning a 90.5 coverage grade – but he turned 32 in March. Emmanuel Moseley likely will get the nod at the other outside spot, and while he played reasonably well in his opportunity last season as the starter (68.0 coverage grade), he’s also a 2018 undrafted free agent without a ton of starting experience.”
And, the 49ers didn’t use any of their five picks in the recent draft to shore up the position – a surprise considering many analysts suggested San Francisco needed help at the position.
K’Waun Williams is an excellent slot corner, but the spot opposite Sherman will be manned either by Moseley, Ahkello Witherspoon or Jason Verrett. Witherspoon has flashed talent but also has been injured and inconsistent.
The 49ers still believe Witherspoon has elite talent, so if he can remain healthy and take advantage of what might be a last chance to earn a starting role this summer, that perceived weakness opposite Sherman could become a strength. If the 6-foot-2 corner can be dominant in training camp and exhibitions, it could be a big step forward for the defense as a whole in 2020.
But Witherspoon is a question mark.
As 49ers general manager John Lynch said in April: “This is a big year for Ahkello. No doubt about it. He’s got to show it on the field.”