(This is Part 2 in a series that will spotlight five 49ers players to watch Friday night in the team's exhibition opener against the Minnesota Vikings, 6 p.m., at Candlestick Park.)
Five 49ers to watch: 5. Alex Boone
The 49ers ranked 11th in the NFL in third-down defense last season. They did it with a promising first-time starter and a rookie third cornerback. Oh, yeah, the other cornerback is coming off his first Pro Bowl appearance and returned to the club with a lucrative contract.
So with the old vet Carlos Rogers, as well as Tarell Brown and Chris Culliver, a second-year player, there do not figure to be many opportunities for another cornerback to work into the mix.Perrish Cox did not play last season after the Denver Broncos released the 2010 draft pick in the midst of allegations of sexual abuse. Cox was acquitted early this year, and the 49ers signed him shortly thereafter.Cox has performed well since coming to the 49ers. He's in competition with Tramaine Brock for the job as the team's No. 4 cornerback. (Brock, as you recall, began last season as the third cornerback, intercepted passes in the first two games, but could not regain his role from Culliver after missing several weeks with a hand injury.)Cox's best attribute is his versatility. He can play cornerback and nickel back, as well as return kicks and punts.Cox will likely get into the action as part of the team's third defense. Rogers and Brown are the starters. Culliver and Brock are the second team.So Cox will likely be matched at some point against Vikings receivers Michael Jenkins, Stephen Burton, Devin Aromashodu and Jarius Wright. After going up regularly against the 49ers' top receivers in 49ers camp, Cox should be expected to have a strong performance.
The Seahawks might be in some trouble.
Seattle may lose its second-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft after failing to disclose Richard Sherman's knee injury, according to ESPN's Chris Mortensen.
The league is reportedly mulling a penalty after Pete Carroll revealed on Monday that Sherman dealt with an MCL injury during the season.
Back in September, the NFL took away the Seahawks' fifth-round pick, fined the team $400,000 and fined Pete Carroll $200,000 for violating work rules that prohibit excessive contact in all offseason workouts.
The Seahawks will also forefit their first week of 2017 OTAs.
The 49ers, a team with no head coach and no general manager, on Thursday added their third player in the past week to a reserve/future contract.
The 49ers signed wide receiver Rashad Ross, a product of Vallejo High School. Ross has appeared in 20 NFL games the past three seasons with Chicago and Washington. In 2015, Ross caught eight passes for 184 yards and a touchdown in 13 games with Washington.
Ross (6 foot, 180 pounds) played collegiately at Arizona State via Butte College in Oroville. Ross caught 37 passes for 610 yards and six touchdowns in 2012 with the Sun Devils.
Washington released Ross on Dec. 22. In addition to seeing game against with Chicago and Washington, he has also been on the practice squads of Tennessee and Kansas City.
The 49ers also signed Nick Rose, a kicker who spent last offseason with the Atlanta Falcons, to a reserve/future contract on Wednesday. Rose made 27 of his 38 field-goal attempts duringhis four-year career at Texas.
Last week, the 49ers signed left-footed punter Brock Miller (Southern Utah) to a reserve/future contract. A reserve/future contract takes effect at the beginning of the new league year on March 9.
The 49ers’ personnel department remains intact after the firing of general manager Trent Baalke. Assistant general manager Tom Gamble and director of pro personnel Mike Williams are most likely responsible for the signings.
CEO Jed York said on Jan. 2 that the new head coach and general manager will have full power to assemble their staffs.