49ers: 3 positions that must be addressed in the offseason

49ers (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
49ers (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /
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49ers (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /

3. Secondary

One of the biggest surprises in 2019 was the sudden emergence of San Francisco’s defense. Coming into the season, we already knew about the talent and potential this team had, but it was still raw and untapped.

As the season unfolded, every game presented unique circumstances in which the defense seemed to rise above and answer the call. The front-seven has always been the focal point and building block to the defense while the secondary continued to take strides in order to catch up.

With an early-season uncertainty of starting cornerback opposite Richard Sherman, the 49ers relied on third-year cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon. During the first three games of the season, this looked like a great decision since Witherspoon was playing at a Pro Bowl level.

Unfortunately, time waits for no man and the games had to be played regardless of who’s on the field or not. Once Witherspoon finally healed up and made his return to game action during a Week 11 win over the Arizona Cardinals, he wasn’t the same player we saw before the injury.

This was a devastating blow, not only for Witherspoon but for the entire secondary as a whole. Backup cornerback Emmanuel Moseley filled in quite admirably and was rewarded with a one-year contract tender as well.

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During the absence of Witherspoon, the defense did not skip a beat and still managed to finish with the league’s second-ranked overall unit.

If the 49ers are to sustain their level of success for the foreseeable future, drafting a hybrid cornerback/safety would make the most sense at the moment. Especially with all the uncertainty regarding current starting safety Jimmie Ward.

There’s a certain level of concern that suggests the 49ers won’t be able to retain Ward. If that’s the case, they can always roll the dice with their current reserve, Tarvarius Moore, or look to add additional firepower via the draft and/or free agency.

The back end of the defense has been a pleasant surprise and a great compliment to the front seven. I truly enjoyed watching the chemistry and talent come together as the season went on.

If they’re unable to bring Ward back, I expect John Lynch to do his due diligence and fill the void with a very reliable player.

Final Notes

Football season is nowhere close and yet, I’m much more excited about the upcoming season. It’s been a while since the Faithful tasted a successful year and now that the franchise is knocking on the door, our patience is extremely thin and we yearn for more.

The roster is loaded with tons of young talent that are surrounded by seasoned vets. I’m sure their short cummings in the Big Game have fueled their competitive juices and will look to avoid the dreaded Super Bowl slump.

Next. 49ers: Ranking San Francisco’s top 3 offseason needs. dark

Only time will tell.