Wide receiver DeSean Jackson is going to sign with the Redskins, so the most important date left on the off-season calendar for the faithful is the start of the 2014 NFL Draft on May 8th. With half their starting secondary off to less green pastures, the 49ers must land two quality cornerbacks that can start from Day 1 if they are to compete within their division in 2014.
49ers’ General Manager Trent Baalke is a “trusted agent” in the draft room, but regardless of past success, he has whiffed on entire drafts (2012) in the past. The 49ers are never going to win a Super Bowl via free agency – few rarely do. I will say this – there is absolutely no room for error in the 2014 NFL Draft for the Red and Gold.
As of today (4/1/2014), the 49ers secondary* is as follows:
* Data used in this report is provided by Pro Football Focus (subscription required)
1) Tramaine Brock – Rated 15 of 199; 678 snaps played.
2.) Chris Culliver – Did not play in 2013 (ACL).
3.) Eric Wright – Rated 55 of 199; 120 snaps played.
4.) Perrish Cox – Rated 110 of 199; 70 snaps played.
5.) Chris Cook – Rated 184 of 199; 753 snaps played.
6.) Darryl Morris – Rated 85 of 199; 7 snaps played.
7.) Dax Swanson – No data – Did not play a single snap in 2013
1.) Eric Reid Jr. – Rated 16 of 171; 1009 snaps played.
2. Antoine Bethea – Rated 133 of 171; 1048 snaps played.
3. C.J. Spillman – Rated 42 of 171; 70 snaps played.
4.) Craig Dahl – Rated 94 of 171; 89 snaps played.
First and foremost, Chris Culliver will likely serve jail time for his recent run-in with the law, making his production a complete unknown. Regardless of if he serves jail time or not, he will be suspended by the league and or the 49ers.
If it were not for Tramaine Brock and Eric Reid Jr., one could make the argument that this is (currently) the worst secondary in the NFL. Gone are the steadying presences of Carlos Rogers, Tarell Brown and Donte Whitner. Present is a group of wildly unsuccessful players that will need to have their best seasons to date to make this secondary once again formidable. Hopefully defensive coordinator Vic Fangio takes his contract extension seriously (he does), because 2014 will be his most trying season to date.
While many view the signing of Bethea as an move equal to retaining Whitner, the data suggests otherwise. Whitner – a safety known for being weak in coverage – had a significantly better pass coverage rating than Bethea (+10.7 vs. -2.9) in 2013. I expect Bethea to improve upon last season’s numbers, but regardless, it remains to be seen. We can all speculate but numbers rarely lie.
I want to hear your feedback. If you want to see how I view the 49ers upcoming draft, please follow this link. Show some engagement – prove to me that you have the salt to know what it takes to again make this secondary a powerhouse. Thanks for reading.