One of the biggest questions surrounding the 49ers’ defense going into 2022 surrounded the identity of K’Waun Williams’ replacement at slot corner. One game into the preseason, it looks as if that question has been answered.
The Niners this week surprisingly cut Darqueze Dennard, who had been listed as the team’s starting nickel corner on the unofficial depth chart and got first crack in that role in San Francisco’s exhibition win over the Green Bay Packers.
Dennard’s release seemingly hands the job to rookie fifth-round pick Samuel Womack, who outshone Dennard with two interceptions in an outstanding debut.
But is Womack up to the challenge of starting in a pivotal position on the defense, and what insurance do the 49ers have at nickel should he endure rookie struggles they cannot afford?
There’s plenty of evidence to suggest San Francisco’s confidence in Womack is well-founded, but the 49ers are not out of alternatives at nickel if the gamble on a late-round rookie does not pay off.