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Cornerback Horn sees himself as strong 49ers draft fit

/ by Matt Maiocco
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The 49ers should be in a position if they hold onto the No. 12 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft to select the best player, regardless of position, on their board.

And if he still is available, South Carolina cornerback Jaycee Horn has little doubt he will be that player.

“I’m versatile,” Horn said Tuesday before his pro day. “I got the size. (I) got the speed -- athletic. I face every receiver body type, from (Florida tight end) Kyle Pitts to (Ole Miss slot receiver) Elijah Moore, (Heisman Trophy winner) DeVonta Smith (Alabama), and feel like I’m the best defensive player in the draft.”

General manager John Lynch likely will look to strengthen the 49ers’ cornerback depth chart during the draft.

Currently, the 49ers have two starting-caliber corners under contract for 2021: Jason Verrett and Emmanuel Moseley. Veteran Richard Sherman is an unrestricted free agent. He does not appear likely to return to the 49ers.

Horn (6-foot-1, 205 pounds) believes he is a good fit for the 49ers’ system.

“It’d be a blessing to play for the 49ers,” Horn said. “We played a lot of man, a lot of cover 3, a lot of single-high man here, so I feel like it wouldn’t be that hard of a transition.”

Horn is good friends with former South Carolina teammates Javon Kinlaw and Deebo Samuel. He and Kinlaw had lockers that were side-by-side, and Horn said he speaks with Kinlaw a couple times a week.

 

“That’s my guy,” Horn said.

The question is whether Horn will be the 49ers’ guy in the first round.

Caleb Farley (Virginia Tech) and Patrick Surtain II (Alabama) are widely considered the top two cornerbacks in the draft. Horn is right there.

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Horn, the son of former longtime NFL wide receiver Joe Horn, registered two interceptions in seven games last season before opting out of the final three games.

Horn said his two younger siblings, two grandparents and an aunt contracted COVID-19. His aunt died, he said.

“I can tell you now, if I went back I’d do it again,” Horn said. “I put my family before anything. I feel like my teammates and my coaches know how much I love the game of football. That’s the one time I put my family before the game, and if I could go back I’d do it again.”

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