The San Francisco 49ers have been searching for a cornerback to pair with CB Tramaine Brock ever since CB Chris Culliver and CB Perrish Cox departed in free-agency last off-season. Two players who were solid at their respective craft but were unable to strike a long-term deal in San Francisco, the 49ers quickly found themselves playing the game of musical chairs in 2015.
Brock, 27, who tied for the team lead in interceptions (3) while pacing the team in pass break-ups (11), needs another cornerback on the outside who can be the ballhawking corner the team desperately lacks. And while I believe third-year CB Dontae Johnson could potentially be that guy, the 49ers need more help at the position. As a result, the team is doing their due-diligence, as they have met with six cornerbacks during this year’s draft process.
The 49ers will use two of their 30 pre-draft visits on cornerbacks as CB Mackensie Alexander (Clemson) and CB Eli Apple (Ohio St.) will both be making the trip to Levi’s Stadium.
Alexander is 5-10, 190, which is a smaller than what 49ers’ GM Trent Baalke likes for the position, but his skill set and potential can’t be ignored which is why he is likely high on their draft board. Alexander is projected to go in the middle to late first-round, so with the 49ers holding the No. 7 pick, they will need to trade back if Alexander is their guy.
The same draft ideology can be used for Apple, as he is also a mid-to-late first-round player. The 49ers attended Apple’s pro day, and his measurables, 6-1,199, and blazing 4.40 40-yard dash solidified his status as a top tier cornerback in this year’s draft class as his combination of length and speed can’t be ignored.
However, should the 49ers pass on those two players, they may look to address the cornerback position in later rounds, as four other cornerbacks seem to be on the team’s radar as CB Kennya Dennis (Missouri), CB Taveze Calhoun (MSU), CB Zack Sanchez (Oklahoma), and CB Blake Countess (Auburn) all met with the 49ers scouts after or before their respective pro days.
Of the four players mentioned, it looks like the team really likes Countess the most as 49ers’ Director of College Scouting Matt Malaspina was on hand for his pro day while watching him go through the 3-cone drill.
With the 49ers continuing to kick the tires on college prospects, we will keep you updated on the latest as it unfolds…
30 Pre-Draft Visits
WR Corey Coleman (Baylor)
WR Laquon Treadwell (Ole Miss)
DE Robert Nkemdiche (Ole Miss)
DE Shaq Lawson (Clemson)
DE/OLB Kevin Dodd (Clemson)
CB Mackensie Alexander (Clemson)
CB Eli Apple (Ohio St.)
WR Leonte Carroo (Rutgers)
DE/OLB Shaq Lawson (Clemson)
DE/OLB Kevin Dodd (Clemson)
LB B.J. Goodson (Clemson)
Pro Day Meeting
CB Kennya Dennis (Missouri)
CB Taveze Calhoun (MSU)
CB Zack Sanchez (Oklahoma)
CB Blake Countess (Auburn)
Senior Bowl Meeting
NT Austin Johnson (Penn St.)
ILB Reggie Ragland (Alabama)
East/West Shrine Bowl Meeting
QB Vernon Adams (Eastern Washington)