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y2lamanaki

Training Camp Battle - Cornerback #2

The Battle for Cornerback #2  

4 members have voted

  1. 1. Who wins the job?

    • Dontae Johnson
    • Keith Reaser
    • Will Redmond
      0
    • Ahkello Witherspoon
    • Someone Else (let us know who in a reply!)
      0
  2. 2. Who will be a surprise cut before the 53-man roster is established?

    • Dontae Johnson
    • Keith Reaser
    • Will Redmond
    • K'Waun Williams
      0
    • All four will make the roster


25 posts in this topic

y2lamanaki    21

I'm going to try and highlight some of the big upcoming training camp battles, and I thought this year I'd separate them into their own posts (to try and get more conversation on each battle). To start - we're going to take a look at the battle at the starting corner spot opposite Robinson. Here are the four big contenders: 

 

Dontae Johnson: 

101414-DJ-TB.jpg

First up is Dontae Johnson, our 4th round pick in 2014. Of the three main players in this competition, he comes in with the most career INTs (1), passes defensed (14), and starts (6). It clearly hasn't been all-pro statistics, but Johnson has been buried on the depth chart in his first three years, and to his credit, he's had to earn each and every one of those numbers. At 6'2", he appears to also have the size that the team will want in our corners. He hasn't had a ton of opportunities in the past, and mostly he's looked pretty average when called upon. Still, he has the most NFL game experience of anyone in the competition.

 

Keith Reaser:

r156466_576x324_16-9.jpg

Reaser was one of Baalke's infamous redshirt picks, a 5th round pick in 2014 that spent the entire year on IR. As such, he's realistically a year behind Johnson in terms of development. He's also one of the two smaller players in this competition at 5'11". Still, that being said, Reaser is rumored to have a head start on the job through offseason work, and he actually passed Johnson in terms of defensive snaps last year. Without the knee injury before the draft, he may have even been selected ahead of Johnson. And even despite playing sparingly his first two years, he's still the second most experienced player in this competition. He is, however, still looking for his first INT. 

 

Will Redmond: 

082916-Redmond-TB.jpg

Redmond ended up being another of Baalke's "redshirt" picks, although his route to such was a little different, given that he was able to play a bit last preseason. As a third round pick, one would assume that Redmond might have a slightly higher pedigree going into the battle, even though he has yet to appear in an actual NFL game. At 5'11", he's the other small player in this competition as well, but his college game tape is pretty solid. All things considered, one of the best positions Baalke was able to evaluate was CB, and the highest corner he ever picked was Redmond (given that Ward was a FS). That doesn't mean a whole lot, but it is something.

 

Ahkello Witherspoon

051217-witherspoon-TH.jpg

Witherspoon is the high profile player in this competition given his status as the rookie early third round pick, and the only player in the competition that was acquired by the current front office. At 6'3", he is a pretty large presence in the secondary and could be one of the best cover guys from the last draft class. The biggest question with Witherspoon is his ability (or perhaps, more importantly, willingness) to tackle ball carriers in the open field. If he is able to show a willingness to mix it up in this regard in the preseason, it would not be a major leap to suggest he would have the inside route to the starting position. 

 

While those four are probably the most likely to make the team and compete for that 2nd CB spot, there are a number of other players who might factor into the competition. K'Waun Williams was one of the more interesting free agent pickups, but he's seen more as the likely nickel corner than an outside player. Will Davis was the other free agent pick-up for the team. Witherspoon's fellow rookie, Adrian Colbert, already has great size at 6'2", 200, and could surprise with a strong camp. Other possible players include last year's 7th round pick Prince Charles Iworah and two undrafted players - Zach Franklin and Lorenzo Jerome, although Jerome has been looked at more as the potential 4th safety than a cornerback. 

 

So that's the battle. Who do you have taking it?

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Forge    42

I don't know why, but i feel Reaser has the inside track. I know Johnson has the size that the scheme covets, but i just don't think he's as good as Reaser, who's shown a little progressing over time. 

Redmond i think is competing at the slot corner spot with Williams. 

The ideal scenario would be for Spoon to be ready to go from jump, but I don't see that happening. He was a bit more upside over readiness in his eval to me. I don't think he'll be day one ready to start. 

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y2lamanaki    21

@Forge - I agree completely with this. I think Witherspoon being good to go from the start would be the ideal scenario, but I'm not banking on that. He'll likely be a 4th CB active for certain packages to get him experience. I'd love to say Special Teams as well, but when one of the known issues is tackling, that's probably not the best spot for him outside of the preseason. And I would think Reaser over Johnson is the way I see it shaping up. But it will certainly be a fun preseason. 

Redmond - not putting a whole lot of stock into where he's lining up at the moment. I want to say I remembered him playing outside a bit last preseason, and I'd love to see him there again. Really, I'd prefer all of the corners to have a chance to compete at each spot (minus Robinson's), as there's no reason not to. Get the best guys out there. 

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48 1/2ers    6

I too like Reaser for this #2 spot.

Reaser and Johnson are the only 2 guys that I've seen play a full season and I remember being really disappointed with Dontae Johnson. This late into the offseason I couldnt even pick out the specifics to why I was disappointed but he had high expectations in our community I think but never capitalized on his opportunities. Reaser will get beat at times but I think he's a solid guy to throw out there as a bridge until Witherspoon can handle the full load.

Redmond I think will battle out K'waun at the nickel.  

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J-ALL-DAY    19

I'm interested in seeing how Redmond looks now that he should be fully healthy.

Reaser nor Johnson are the ideal #2 CB, but one of them likely will before Witherspoon emerges late in the season. I'm predicting Witherspoon becomes the #2 by week 10 or 11.

Of course it could happen earlier if Robinson gets hurt.

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y2lamanaki    21
1 hour ago, J-ALL-DAY said:

Of course it could happen earlier if Robinson gets hurt.

So, you're saying Witherspoon will be starting Week 1?

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757-NINER    1

Its strange I haven't read one report on how Kwuan Williams has looked in the slot. I know Redmond is running with the 2's but no news on Williams.

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Forge    42
20 minutes ago, 757-NINER said:

Its strange I haven't read one report on how Kwuan Williams has looked in the slot. I know Redmond is running with the 2's but no news on Williams.

If he's been a full participant in the practices, I'm actually considering that a win in his favor. 

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y2lamanaki    21

To be fair, outside of the second day of practice, I have not heard anything from Redmond either. And outside of Day 2, I have heard nothing from Taylor, and I have heard nothing from Kerley either. 

Might just be hard to get fans excited about guys who may be mostly safety valves at this point in camp, which also makes it difficult to evaluate the guys covering them. 

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757-NINER    1
Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, y2lamanaki said:

To be fair, outside of the second day of practice, I have not heard anything from Redmond either. And outside of Day 2, I have heard nothing from Taylor, and I have heard nothing from Kerley either. 

Might just be hard to get fans excited about guys who may be mostly safety valves at this point in camp, which also makes it difficult to evaluate the guys covering them. 

Well at least we've had a write-up or two about about Taylor and Redmond. We know each player has a pulse, so to speak. But I haven't read one single bit of info, good or bad, on Williams. And that strikes me as odd, considering he's probably the 3rd CB on the depth chart or the de facto #1 slot CB. 

 

Kerley I think has just been outshined by guys like Robinson and Taylor. By all accounts, he's probably 5th on the depth chart right now behind Garcon, Goodwin, Robinson, and Taylor. But his a savvy vet and the kind of guy you keep around in case a injury or two occurs. Plus he has special teams value as a returner. Bourne, Smelter, and Bolden all seem destined for the PS

 

But back to the CBs, I think they should give Redmond a look at the outside CB spot opposite Robinson. Couldn't hurt any. He's got decent size for a slot guy and could function pretty well on the outside. He definitely has the speed and quickness to more adequately deal with the Goodwin's of the world. I think its worth a shot if they aren't overly impressed with what they've seen with Johnson or Reaser. 

Edited by 757-NINER

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Fureys49ers    11

I was thinking a long the same lines about Redmond possibly seeing time on the outside. Coming out of college I'm pretty sure he was known for being an aggressive, instinctual, cover man which might be a good fit in our scheme.

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y2lamanaki    21

Good to hear Johnson having a bounceback day with Reaser out. Looks like both will end up on the squad by default with no cornerback stepping up and Witherspoon's most notable issue showing up today. 

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J-ALL-DAY    19
On 8/1/2017 at 2:08 PM, 757-NINER said:

Its strange I haven't read one report on how Kwuan Williams has looked in the slot. I know Redmond is running with the 2's but no news on Williams.

Quote

Speaking of cornerbacks: K’Waun Williams appears locked in as the nickel back. The former Cleveland Brown is winning his competition against last year’s fourth-round pick Will Redmond. He’s a physical, scrappy cornerback and he’ll probably play close to 50 percent of the snaps. Last year the 49ers would often rotate Jimmie Ward into the nickel spot and didn’t really have a true specialist at the position. Start remembering Williams’ name because he’s going to have an important role on this team.

http://www.knbr.com/2017/08/02/49ers-camp-observations-carlos-hyde-gives-witherspoon-a-rude-welcome-the-nfl/

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y2lamanaki    21

The great part about that is it means he's legitimately winning his job. I have only heard/seen good things about Redmond to date. 

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