Jimmie Ward is probably going to play a lot of nickel corner for the San Francisco 49ers, so technically they addressed their biggest weakness. But what about drafting a “real” cornerback, a guy with “CB” in his draft profile? The 49ers satisfied that need today, taking Dontae Johnson in the fourth round, Keith Reaser in the fifth and Kenneth Acker in the sixth.
Round 4, Pick 29 (129): Dontae Johnson 6’2″ 200 N.C. State
The 49ers never like to pigeonhole guys, and just as Ward is a safety who’ll play corner, Johnson is a corner who may end up spending a lot of time at safety. Not only does Johnson have the kind of frame that strength coach Mark Uyeyuma can add some good weight to, he had more sacks (four) than interceptions (three) in college. Johnson played safety throughout high school and his first two years with the Wolfpack, and the 49ers showed this weekend that they’re looking to rebuild their secondary with versatile players who can both cover and hit.
Like Eric Reid, Johnson turned down a scholarship offer from Jim Harbaugh to come to Stanford. Why would the New Jersey native do such a thing?
“Honestly, it was too far. I wanted to stay closer to home. That was the main reason, honestly. A great school, great program, great football, everything. Just wanted to stay a little closer to home. And now I guess I’m going to have to be making that trip since I turned it down the first time, which is pretty cool. I get to come back out there to California, which is great,” said Johnson, who graduated in December as a double major in Sports Management and Business Administration.
Round 5, Pick 30 (170):Keith Reaser CB 5’10” 189 Florida Atlantic
Yet another example of Trent Baalke betting on modern medicine. At this point it looks like the 49ers GM would be thrilled if 33% of these redshirt guys even see the field.
Underwent four months of rehab after undergoing surgery on his left knee and was invited to the NFL Scouting Combine. After meeting with doctors in Indianapolis who were concerned about his MRI, he flew to Pensacola to see Dr. James Andrews, who explained that his body was rejecting the graft used from a cadaver in repairing his ACL. Subsequently underwent a second surgery Feb. 27 in which a graft was used from his own patellar tendon.
He ran a 4.32 before getting hurt and benched 225 pounds 22 times, but two surgeries on the same knee in a six-month span? Okay …
Round 6, Pick 4 (180): Kenneth Acker CB 6’0″ 190 SMU
We’re getting to the point of the draft where I can’t possibly pretend to know much about these guys without looking like a total phony, so the most I’ll do is point to six interceptions and 28 passes defensed over his last two seasons and say, “Hey, he’s got great ball skills!”
/Laughs maniacally as vision gets blurry from watching countless hours of draft coverage