The 49ers have had a cornerback problem for most of this season, but a COVID-19 issue ahead of their Week 18 matchup against the Rams has ratcheted up that problem substantially.
Cornerbacks K’Waun Williams, Dontae Johnson, Ambry Thomas and Deommodore Lenoir were all placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list ahead of Week 18, leaving San Francisco with one healthy CB on their active roster as of Thursday. That healthy CB is Josh Norman who was benched following a pass interference penalty against the Texans in Week 17.
Emmanuel Moseley is still on injured reserve with an ankle injury, but he did have his practice window opened to start the week of practice leading up to the Rams game. His activation for Sunday isn’t guaranteed though.
So what happens if the 49ers don’t get Moseley back and none of their CBs clear COVID protocols? They’ll dip into their practice squad roster where these three cornerbacks reside:
Barcoo (6-1, 175 pounds) was a fascinating prospect coming out of San Diego State in the 2020 draft. He only played two years for the Aztecs, but posted 16 pass breakups with nine interceptions as a senior in 13 games. That is a ridiculous amount of production. He went undrafted and signed with the Jaguars where he played in three games last season. In those three contests he earned one start and posted 10 tackles, one tackle for loss and one pass breakup.
Hill was college teammates at Michigan for three years with 49ers rookie CB Ambry Thomas. Unlike Thomas, Hill wasn’t selected in the draft and signed with the Chiefs in 2020 as an undrafted free agent. He wound up on their practice squad before bouncing to the Eagles and Cardinals practice squads. He’s been with San Francisco since mid-December. In college Hill played in 36 games and put up six interceptions with 20 total pass breakups.
Dennard was a first-round pick of the Bengals in the 2014 draft. The Michigan State alum has played in 86 games with 30 starts across his eight-year career. Dennard never lived up to his billing as a first-round pick with Cincinnati. He spent his first six seasons with the Bengals and earned 24 starts, hauled in three interceptions and broke up 22 passes. The Falcons had him for eight games in 2020. He also played in one game for the Giants this season, but only contributed on special teams. San Francisco signed Dennard to their practice squad this week after COVID-19 became an issue in their cornerback room.