C.J. Spillman vs. Trenton Robinson

C.J. Spillman vs. Trenton Robinson
July 31, 2012, 8:57 pm
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C.J. SPILLMAN TRENTON ROBINSON

Third safety -- C.J. Spillman vs. Trenton Robinson
Tale of the tape:
Spillman: Fourth season, 6-0, 200, Marshall
Robinson: Rookie, 5-9, 193, Michigan State

Spillman is the overwhelming favorite to enter the season as the No. 3 safety after running with the starting unit for the entire offseason while Dashon Goldson declined to sign his franchise tender. Spillman, the 49ers' best special-teams player, must prove he is not a liability in coverage. With a regular-season schedule that includes games against Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford, Eli Manning, Drew Brees and Tom Brady, the 49ers are going to need to see a lot of coverage skills from their third safety.

That's why the club selected Robinson in the sixth round. A year ago, the 49ers gave up on Taylor Mays because the coaches determined he lacked the fluidity in his hips to cover NFL receivers. Robinson is not nearly as big, and that gives him a chance to find a role when the 49ers go with extra defensive backs. Undrafted safety Michael Thomas (Stanford) also has a history of covering the slot receiver.