Carlos RogersThe addition of Eric Wright certainly crowds the 49ers’ secondary, but only one player in particular should be feeling the pressure, so to speak. And that is Carlos Rogers.

Wright and Rogers not only rival each other in stature (both measure about 5’11 and 190 lbs) but also in position. Though his primary position wasn’t in the slot last season, that does not mean it won’t be this season. As David Fucillo of Niners Nation fame points out:

[While] he did play some slot, [Wright] ended up spending more time outside in part because the Bucs did not face a lot of great slot receivers. Coming to San Francisco, that will not quite be the case. Just within the division, the 49ers will face the likes of Tavon Austin and Percy Harvin. The slot corner will be as important as anybody in the secondary some weeks.

So, because it’s a bright and warm Saturday afternoon, I thought it’d stay inside and pour over the stats of both Rogers and Wright when lined up in the slot. I’ve charted them, below, in hopes that doing so will free you from the shackles of curiosity and maybe allow you to focus more closely on your significant. This is a pipe dream, I know.

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I suppose the first stat that sticks out is experience. Over the past three season, Rogers has accrued a wealth of experience — the amount of which probably guarantees his position on the team. Aside from that, the differences aren’t well defined. In fact, when we compare their respective averages side-by-side, it becomes apparent as to just how similar Rogers and Wright are.


The most striking stat — and one that I think is particularly important for slot corners — is yards after catch per reception (YAC/Rec). Given that defending the short, quick slants and outs typically run by slot receivers is often impossible, the best a corner can do is simply limit the amount of yards gained. Here, it would appear that Wright has a greater success in doing so.

But there might be something else at play in this stat. In looking at each players missed tackles, it is obvious that Rogers is a more deft tackler than Wright. Since 2008, Rogers has played in 4,940 snaps and has missed only 26 tackles. In that same time, he’s completed or assisted in 260 tackles. Over the same period, Wright has logged 4,532 snaps and missed a boggling 45 tackles — 16 of which were tallied in 2011 — while participating in 292 tackles.

Finally, given that the 49ers will be facing stiff competition in Percy Harvin and possibly Tavon Austin, I thought it’d be interesting to see how Wright and Rogers faired against the former — as well as against some other formidable slot receivers.

Carlos Rogers

vs. Percy Harvin

2012 – Week 3: 3 targets, 3 receptions, 41 yards (37 YAC), 0 TDs, 0 INTs and 0 passes defensed (PDs).

2010 – Week 10: 1 targets, 1 receptions, 9 yards (1 YAC), 0 TDs, 0 INTs and 0 PDs.

vs. Victor Cruz

2012 – Week 6: 9 targets, 4 receptions, 31 yards (5 YAC), 1 TD, 0 INTs and 2 PDs.

2011 – NFC CC: 11 targets, 8 receptions, 125 yards (37 YAC), 0 TDs, 0 INTs and 1 PD.

2011 – Week 10: 7 targets, 4 receptions, 72 yards (24 YAC), 0 TDs, 1 INTs and 0 PDs.

vs. Wes Welker 

2012 – Week 15: 5 targets, 3 receptions, 40 yards (27 YAC), 0 TDs, 1 INT, and 0 PDs.

Eric Wright

vs. Percy Harvin

2012 – Week 8: 3 targets, 3 receptions, 42 yards (28 YAC), 1 TDs, 0 INTs and 0 PDs.

2011 – Week 3: 4 targets, 3 receptions, 24 yards (0 YAC), 0 TDs, 0 INTs and 0 PDs.

2011 – Week 14: 3 targets, 1 receptions, 4 yards (12 YAC), 0 TDs, 1 INTs and 1 PDs.

vs. Victor Cruz

2012 – Week 2: 5 targets, 5 receptions, 59 yards (14 YAC), 0 TDs, 1 INTs and 0 PDs.

vs. Wes Welker 

2010 – Week 9:  2 targets, 1 receptions, 11 yards (3 YAC), 0 TDs, 0 INTs and 0 PDs.

In all, I think it will take a major collapse by Rogers to lose his spot, especially given the Wright’s history of off-the-field issues. Still, it’s a prudent move by the front office to essentially bring in a Rogers clone. The arms race of the NFC West has only heightened this offseason, and the 49ers have done relatively little to bolster their pass defense. I’m sure Baalke and Harbaugh expect their defense to be buoyed by the health of Justin and Aldon Smith. But the health of those two has never really deterred slot receivers from having great success against the team. Perhaps Wright can be that shutdown-type corner that Rogers has not been. But, then again, perhaps he’s just a camp body that the team paid a minuscule price for.