Training camp provides an excellent time for the San Francisco 49ers to see what they have with enigmatic cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha. Once regarded as the co-chairman of the elite cover-man’s board along with Darrelle Revis, much has changed since he went to the Philadelphia Eagles‘ “Dream Team” as the most prized free agent of the 2012 offseason.
Many wonder if moving from his spot solely on the right side of the Oakland Raiders secondary to the zone-coverage schemes of the Eagles were what caused his play to take a huge hit, with his inability to tackle or deliver much of a hit often put on display Juan Castillo’s defense. Others wonder if he was exposed by having quarterbacks target him more often than in Oakland, where they were basically petrified of going after him. In Philly that wasn’t as much the case as Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, while inconsistent, could become one of the league’s top corners any given week.
Then there’s a wonder if Asomugha just needs to a very specific role and doesn’t have the well-rounded game of an upper-echelon corner, but does some things in coverage extremely well. Whatever the reason or combination of reasons, Asomugha’s Pro Football Focus grade dropped him to 88th and 101st in their positional rankings after finishing 28th during his final Oakland year, and his stock dropped to the point that Philly cut him this offseason before San Fran signed him to a one-year “prove it” deal.
“The adjustment hasn’t been that hard,” Asomugha told the team’s website. “This is a really solid defense all the way around. Since everybody knows the defense, it’s really easy to communicate. Anything I don’t get I can ask anybody on the defense and they pretty much have it down.”