Matt Maiocco

Size matters for 49ers at cornerback

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AP

Size matters for 49ers at cornerback

With the start of the free agency just a couple of weeks ago, here is one man's opinion of the 49ers' top offseason needs:

1. Cornerback
2. Guard
3. Edge rusher
4. Wide receiver
5. Inside linebacker

Here are some other questions for the latest edition of 49ers Mailbag submitted via Facebook:

What corners are the 49ers likely to be looking at in free agency/draft? (Stépheñ Bůrkę)
There are few things of which I am certain when it comes to NFL free agency and the draft, but here is one of them:

If there’s a cornerback available, the 49ers will do their homework and consider the possibility of pursuing him to add to their roster.

Ahkello Witherspoon showed during his rookie season the ability to be a starter-caliber NFL cornerback. Nobody else on their roster, including free-agent-to-be Dontae Johnson, proved capable of being a starter on a team with playoff aspirations.

The 49ers have already done their homework on free agent Vontae Davis, who visited Santa Clara this week, and Marcus Peters, whom the 49ers chose not to pursue from the Kansas City Chiefs with a trade offer.

The personnel department will looking into the entire upcoming free-agent class, including Trumaine Johnson, Aaron Colvin and Kyle Fuller.

As for who might be available in the draft, Iowa’s Josh Jackson and Ohio State’s Denzel Ward appear to be the only candidates who the club would consider with their first-round draft pick. Jackson could have the edge on the 49ers’ draft board due to his size advantage. The 49ers, like the other teams that run their Seattle-influenced defensive scheme, place emphasis on tall corners on the outside.

After their first pick, the 49ers could look to Colorado, again, with 6-foot-1 Isaiah Oliver. Kameron Kelly (6-2) of San Diego State could be a player the 49ers would consider on the second or third down with the idea of moving him back to cornerback.

It seems after the Eagles won the Super Bowl a good back up QB is important. What do you think the Niners will do at backup QB? (Philip Malan)
My first thought is that the 49ers feel pretty good about their quarterback situation. C.J. Beathard definitely has a lot of what Kyle Shanahan wants from a player at that position.

Beathard showed some good things in his time as a rookie, but there is still plenty of room for improvement.

Obviously, the 49ers will bring in one or two other quarterbacks. More than likely, there could be a journeyman-type and an undrafted rookie. Although I would not rule out a player from the outside beating out Beathard for the No. 2 spot, I’d be surprised if the top two QBs on the 49ers’ roster at the start of the 2018 season are not Jimmy Garoppolo and C.J. Beathard.

Who do you see taking the lead role at RB if Hyde isn't signed? (Ben Gomez)
I don’t think the 49ers necessarily want a so-called “workhorse” at running back. Shanahan would likely prefer to employ multiple backs for different roles.

That said, the 49ers have certainly not given up on re-signing Carlos Hyde. If the price is right, there are plenty of scenarios in which he returns to the organization in 2018.

Joe Williams demonstrated the skillset at Utah that would easily make him the team’s premier back. But the game appeared too big for him last summer during training camp before he was shipped to injured reserve with a relatively minor injury. If Williams returns in April for the offseason program ready to play, he and Matt Breida could easily be the 49ers’ top two backs.

But, certainly, the 49ers are in no position to depend on Williams. It seems unrealistic the 49ers would spend big money on a free agent. They can be expected to add a veteran or two, but nobody who would come in as the no-questions-asked starter. (Remember, a year ago, the 49ers added Tim Hightower and Kapri Bibbs, and neither made the regular-season roster.)

There will certainly be plenty of low-cost, dynamic options available in the draft – as there is every year.

Source: 49ers never made trade offer for Marcus Peters

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USATSI

Source: 49ers never made trade offer for Marcus Peters

The 49ers are interested in a cornerback.

The 49ers are interested in any and all cornerbacks.

When the Kansas City Chiefs began shopping cornerback Marcus Peters, the 49ers did all the investigation one would expect from a team with a specific and urgent need at the position.

However, the 49ers did not make an offer to the Chiefs, a source told NBC Sports Bay Area on Friday. The Los Angeles Rams and Chiefs reportedly agreed on a deal that will become official at the beginning of the new league year on March 14.

Peters, 25, for all his talent and production, comes with reasons to make Kansas City, a team for which he played three seasons, want to ship him to another location. Peters was named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2015. He has earned trips to the Pro Bowl in two of his first three seasons while producing 19 interceptions and six forced fumbles in 45 games.

Peters came into the NFL with question marks after Washington coach Chris Peterson kicked him off the team during his junior season in college. Last season, Kansas City coach Andy Reid suspended Peters for a game late in the season as the Chiefs were pursuing a playoff spot.

One thing is certain this offseason: The 49ers will be connected with every cornerback on the market, including soon-to-be Rams free agent Trumaine Johnson.

Johnson, 28, figures to be one of the more attractive on the market during the early negotiating period of March 12-14. Johnson (6-foot-2, 213 pounds) is a six-year veteran who has recorded 18 interceptions.

The 49ers recently visited with veteran cornerback Vontae Davis, whom the Indianapolis Colts released last season. Davis is coming off groin surgery.

Cornerback arguably likely ranks as the 49ers’ biggest need this offseason. The club feels good about the progress of Ahkello Witherspoon, who began his rookie season inactive for the first four games. Witherspoon quickly developed into the team’s best cornerback.

The 49ers deemed cornerback Rashard Robinson was a disappointment on and off the field, and he was traded to the New York Jets. Dontae Johnson started all 16 games at right cornerback, but his play took a downward turn late in the season.

The 49ers are not expected to place a priority on re-signing Johnson as a free agent. K'Waun Williams returns as the 49ers' starting nickel back, but he is not considered an option to start at cornerback.

The other 49ers cornerbacks under contract for the 2018 season are Greg Mabin, Tyvis Powell and Channing Stribling. 

Report: 49ers were interested in Marcus Peters before trade to Rams

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USATSI

Report: 49ers were interested in Marcus Peters before trade to Rams

The 49ers enter the new league year with cornerback as the team’s most glaring need.

One of the game’s top cover men will be coming to the NFC West, as ESPN reports the Los Angeles Rams are in the final stages of a trade to acquire Marcus Peters from the Kansas City Chiefs.

The NFL Network reported the 49ers and Cleveland Browns were also interested in acquiring Peters.

The Rams’ move to acquire Peters likely means the club will not pursue re-signing Trumaine Johnson, who was tagged as Los Angeles’ franchise player last season with a one-year $16.7 million contract.

Johnson, 28, figures to be one of the more attractive on the market during the early negotiating period of March 12-14. Johnson (6-foot-2, 213 pounds) is a six-year veteran who has recorded 18 interceptions.

Peters, 25, has been one of the top play-makers at cornerback in his three seasons in the league with 19 interceptions.