49ers

Will 49ers regret not picking any cornerbacks during 2020 NFL Draft?

49ers

The 49ers allowed the fewest passing yards per game in the NFL last season at only 169.2. That was the lowest mark since 2009, and San Francisco is returning its entire starting secondary this season. 

But cornerback still was considered a position of need going into the 2020 NFL Draft. The 49ers even were linked to C.J. Henderson if he fell to them, however, the Jacksonville Jaguars swooped up the former Florida star at No. 9 overall. 

San Francisco selected defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw at No. 14 overall, who's a better prospect than any of the remaining cornerbacks who were taken.

The 49ers made five picks in all, and didn't use any on a cornerback. This is a bit surprising. Why? Their top four cornerbacks -- Richard Sherman, Emmanuel Moseley, Ahkello Witherspoon and K'Waun Williams -- are entering the final year of their contracts. 

Sherman, 32, looked like his old dominant self last season. He recorded three interceptions, had 11 passes defensed and was Pro Football Focus' top coverage defender in the NFL last season. The Second-Team All-Pro also showed his age in the 49ers' Super Bowl LIV loss, when he was burned by Sammy Watkins in a crucial moment. 

Moseley stepped up last season as Witherspoon struggled at times, and the former undrafted free agent figures to compete for the starting job opposite Sherman. General manager John Lynch admitted this offseason that Witherspoon, a former third-round draft pick, has to prove himself on the field.

 

Williams, who had a 77.2 PFF grade last season, is one of the top nickel corners in the league and a bit of an unsung hero for this dominant passing defense. One reason the 49ers might have stood pat in the draft, though, is Tim Harris. 

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

The 49ers are high on Harris after taking him in the sixth round of the draft last year. He was placed on injured reserve last season in August with a groin injury and is yet to make his NFL debut.

Harris has the size at 6-foot-2 and 197 pounds and speed to compete for playing time next season. The Virginia product ran a 4.45 40-yard dash at his pro day, but dealt with injuries as well in college. 

It's clear the 49ers are in win-now mode. Their secondary certainly makes them contenders yet again this season. The real question is, what happens beyond 2020? 

[RELATED: How 49ers fans graded their team's draft picks, big trades]

Right now, they're not too concerned with that. They saw Moseley emerge as someone who went undrafted, and perhaps Harris could be a late-round steal. The 49ers will have to ride with this group and answer questions when they come to that fork in the road.