SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- More than a few observers wondered why the San Francisco 49ers ignored a position of such need as cornerback in the most recent NFL draft.
Thing is, general manager Trent Baalke did address the need ... albeit a year earlier by using four of his 12 draft picks on defensive backs, including first-rounder Jimmy Ward and fourth-rounder Dontae Johnson.
Though Keith Reaser, taken in the fifth round out of Florida Atlantic, and Kenneth Acker, selected 10 picks later in the sixth from SMU, missed all of last season because of injury, they are healthy now. Besides getting reps in organized team activities, they are gearing up to compete for roster spots come August.
It’s as if the 49ers actually did use two draft picks on cornerbacks to join vets Tramaine Brock, Shareece Wright and Chris Cook, the only three cornerbacks on the team with more than three career starts.
"I think it’s a wide-open competition out there," said Reaser, who suffered his knee injury in college. "Some of the veterans have a little jump on us, but I think it’s going to be a good competition in camp."
Acker, who suffered a stress fracture in a foot last preseason, had an interception in Friday’s open-to-the-media practice, picking off undrafted rookie Dylan Thompson on a pass that bounded off rookie tight end Blake Bell.
Reaser also jumped a route in the middle of the field to knock down a Blaine Gabbert pass.
"I feel my speed and explosion is there," Reaser said, per the Bay Area News Group. "I’m just working off some rust and (improving) my technique."
The bonus, of course, is that Reaser and Acker are not rookies, having been around the team for more than a year already and marinating in the system.
"I can also tell that their bodies are different," said 49ers head coach Jim Tomsula. "It’s not new to them. The whole approach, the nerves that you see with a young guy coming in, there’s none of that. So absolutely you can tell.
"They are moving along pretty good, aren’t they? We are talking about all this evaluating and we don’t have any pads on. But everything that is being asked of them, the way they are moving around, the running, all that stuff, good."
The goal, then, is to extend it to training camp.