SANTA CLARA – The 49ers finally addressed a need at cornerback Saturday with the fourth-round selection of Dontae Johnson of North Carolina State.
North Carolina State
6 foot 2
Selection: Fourth round, No. 129 overall
Chosen ahead of . . . CB Nevin Lawson (Utah State), QB Tom Savage (Pitt), T Cameron Fleming (Stanford), G David Yankey (Stanford).
College career: Johnson started his career as a backup safety, then moved to nickel corner and finally settled in at starting left cornerback in 2013. He moved back to free safety for the final seven games. He had eight passes defensed in 2012. He got all three of his career interceptions in 2013. He graduated in December with a double major in sports management and business administration.
Scouting report: He has good size and ran an official time of 4.45 seconds at the NFL Scouting Combine. On the NFL Network, draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah said, “He takes the chees every time,” meaning he falls prey to double moves and is easily fooled. There is some debate on whether he’s a better fit at cornerback or safety.
How he fits: He has good size and speed, but is very raw. He does not figure to offer strong competition to Chris Culliver or Tramaine Brock for a starting job as a rookie. But the 49ers see a lot of physical talent and it will be the responsible of defensive backs coach Ed Donatell to mold Johnson into a player who can becomea factor in future seasons. He’ll have to show enough during his first training camp to earn a spot on the 49ers’ 53-man roster.