Sakamoto: 49ers CB Rashard Robinson Receives Mixed Reviews, CB Will Redmond Shines In Training Camp


One rookie the San Francisco 49ers coaching staff appears to be extremely high on is troubled but talented CB Rashard Robinson. Drafted in the fourth-round (No. 133) of the 2016 NFL Draft, the 49ers opted to draft yet another cornerback after already selecting CB Will Redmond just one round earlier.

To this day, I still believe the 49ers should have addressed a more pressing need with the selection of Louisiana Tech RB Kenneth Dixon. But that wasn’t the case, and as a result, the 49ers now have two more young cornerbacks to groom at their disposal.

So how did these two fare in the first two days of training camp? If you ask me, I would say that both are neck-and-neck when tracking their rise as potential starting cornerbacks.

During yesterday’s practice Robinson struggled against third-string WR DiAndre Campbell. Whether giving up too much cushion on comeback routes or mistiming his jam off the line of scrimmage, Robinson clearly struggled on Day 1. A setback? Not quite. Let’s not get to ahead of ourselves, as I still believe he is naturally gifted to thrive under DC Jim O’Neil’s scheme. However, it was disappointing to see him struggle, especially against third-string talent.

Redmond stole the show however. From disguising a perfectly timed cornerback blitz from the slot resulting in a sack on QB Colin Kaepernick to breaking up a pass on the very next play, Redmond showed us why he was selected ahead of Robinson. He displayed fluid hips while staying on the hip of the receiver throughout their route tree. A nice cover corner with the quickness to match, Redmond may relish the slot cornerback role with DB Jimmie Ward kicking outside.

Day two of training camp was a reverse image.

Instead it was Robinson who bounced back in a big way while Redmond took a back seat. Starting with individual drills (video above), Robinson was seen displaying fluid hips, patient feet, and proper hand-placement in the bump-and-run drill.

Redmond on the other hand was slowly getting acclimated to the drill with hand placement, while not using proper footwork when kick-sliding to a 45-degree angle. In this drill it’s imperative that the outside foot is planted so you can explode off the line of scrimmage. It’s also good to note that the cornerback must pull his shoulder backwards in order to maintain proper leverage in case the receiver tries to break outside. (staying square at the line)

You clearly see how Robinson is ahead when it comes to being a natural press-corner as 49ers DBC Jeff Hafley alluded to back in June.

But with that being said, how did these two look in team drills? While they have yet to put on the pads, both look the part. Redmond played well in coverage working primarily the slot while Robinson held his own at the left cornerback position. Robinson was mainly covering the flanker (primary receiver) and was routinely seen mirroring the receiver downfield on multiple concept routes. His backpedal was not choppy, didn’t take any false steps, and drove via the receiver’s back when ball was thrown his direction. All traits of a quality NFL starter.

Redmond did well covering the slot, although he did have some trouble with quicker receivers on crossing dig-routes. No biggie. He held his own for the most part while immediately hitting the receiver, preventing valuable yards after catch. One thing I will say, is that Redmond has an aggressive demeanor about him, so once he gets his hands on the inside chest plate of the receiver, it’s game over. Reminds me a little bit of CB Chris Culliver.

49ers DC Jim O’Neil went on record this morning saying that his two likely starting outside cornerbacks are CB Tramaine Brock and Ward. With that being said, that means the slot role is up for grabs and Redmond could be the answer, while Robinson is the primary backup outside.

Exciting news that should have Forever Faithful excited, as long as both players can remain healthy. As training camp continues tomorrow, I’ll continue to track their progress as it unfolds.

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Ryan is the Founder/CEO of, 49ers Beat Writer, Live Game Day Correspondent for Bleacher Report and member of Pro Football Writers of America. Born and raised in San Jose, he also graduated from San Diego State University. His work has been featured on NFL Network, 95.7 The Game, National Football Post, Sports Illustrated, FanSided Network, ESPN Radio, CBS Sports 810, and NBC Bay Area News. For more information, please contact him via email at or call him at (408) 622-0996.