With the NFL scouting combine set to begin tomorrow, it will be very fun to watch these young prospects make a name for themselves in front of millions of people. From the skill positions to the kickers, you can be sure every player will be bringing their A game in hopes of landing on an NFL team. And while some may go undrafted, the NFL combine will undoubtedly play a key role in determining whether a team wants to pick up some of these athletes when it’s all said and done.And with the San Francisco 49ers likely targeting both a wide receiver and cornerback early on, the question remains which players fit the 49ers scheme? We already analyzed the wide receiver position, so now let’s break down the defensive side of the ball. So without further ado, the five cornerbacks that would fit the 49ers scheme are:
1. CB Justin Gilbert (Oklahoma St.)
Analysis: The No. 1 rated cornerback on my Big Board, Gilbert is the best pure cover corner in this year’s draft. A tough, physical, and aggressive cornerback as Gilbert thrives in bump-and-run schemes while being matched up on an island, Gilbert would provide the 49ers with added flexibility at the cornerback position. Not to mention, Gilbert doubles as a dangerous return-man on special-teams, Gilbert is the cream of the crop.
2. CB Darqueze Dennard (Michigan St.)
Analysis: The No. 2 rated cornerback on my Big Board, it’s no wonder why his nickname is “The No Fly Zone.” At 5-foot-11 and 197 pounds, he is not the ideal big cornerback the 49ers covet but nonetheless would be a nice addition to the secondary. A player that I consider to be the most fundamentally sound and NFL ready, Dennard’s ceiling is not as high as Gilbert’s. However, he is a solid cornerback and will be highly sought after early in the NFL Draft.
3. CB Jason Verrett (TCU)
Analysis: A player that reminds me of a poor man’s CB Tim Jennings, Verrett has the speed and athleticism to stay stride-for-stride with receivers. The former WAC product, Verrett displayed tremendous short-area quickness with the burst to explode to the ball on the quick slants. A player that excels in off coverage as Verrett has a knack for a read-and-react style of play, he would be a nice upgrade at the nickel and dime packages.
4. CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste (Nebraska)
Analysis: Jean-Baptiste is a player that will be sky-rocketing up draft boards simply because of his H-W-S (Height, Weight, Speed). At 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds, Jean-Baptiste would easily be the biggest cornerback on the 49ers roster. A player similar to current free-agent CB Brandon Browner, Jean-Baptiste will prove to be a valuable asset if the 49ers have the opportunity to grab this big guy as he has the size to counter the bigger receivers in the NFL.
5. CB Pierre Desir (Lindenwood)
Analysis: You may be saying to yourself, who? And I don’t blame you. Desir comes from a small-town school but made a name for himself at the Senior Bowl. At 6-foot-1 and 195 pounds, Desir is purely a wild card simply because he has been playing big in both the East-West Shrine Game and Senior Bowl. The true definition of a small-school kid trying to make it at the next level, Desir is one of my sleeper picks this year.