Positional Analysis Defensive Back- 02/17/2001
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It seems like heading into every off-season since Steve Mariucci took over coaching, and maybe even prior to that, one of the greatest concerns for the team always seems at the cornerback position. Fortunately, this season the 49ers can rest easy. Well maybe not easy, but the team certainly isn't remotely close to the devastation it's faced at this position over the past two seasons. Last season the team made two very good draft picks in acquiring cornerbacks Ahmed Plummer and Jason Webster. The team also was in good hands for dime defenses with backups Monty Montgomery and Anthony Parker - who was acquired in the draft the previous season. The team seems to be in good position this off-season, but some changes will likely occur anyway.

The 49ers seem very happy with Ahmed Plummer. Coming out of college last season, he was immediately penciled in to start at cornerback, and managed to hold that position all season. Plummer struggled early, but as he learned the ropes of the NFL, and the pass rush improved, Plummer managed to improve his game. The first round draft picks, seems ready to take his game to the next level, and the 49ers are optimistic he will be a leader in the defensive secondary for seasons to come.

Jason Webster, the 49ers other cornerback drafted last season, had to fight his way into the starting lineup. Webster, who is under six feet, was feared to be to small to play in the NFL, but his hard hitting, hard practicing and big play ability managed to earn him a starting spot. Webster proved to be a solid corner opposite Plummer and improved as the season progressed. Webster managed to overcome some poor official penalty calls, and in so doing proved that he was mentally fit to play at this level.

Anthony Parker will be heading into his third season this year. Coming out of the draft, the team was optimistic for Parker, but the team quickly learned that Parker, though talented was very raw in technique. Two seasons later, Parker has improved quite significantly; he still hasn't cracked the starting line-up though. Nevertheless, Parker offers the 49ers good depth at the position, and still has a very strong upside.

Monty Montgomery, the veteran of the group, came to the team as a free agent from the Vikings. Montgomery played his first full season with the 49ers last year, and though he wasn't the strongest of the bunch, he did qualify as a rather consistent player, that given help could usually be used quite effective. Montgomery may however be a victim of this season's salary cap number, or of the draft. The team in all likelihood will still be looking for an upgrade at this position and it may come at Montgomery's expense.

The 49ers finished off last season in good shape at cornerback. They have to very young and promising corners, as well as some young solid depth. Though the team will look to fill other holes this off-season, to assume that they wont look to improve the defensive secondary is hard to imagine.

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