It’s easy to see why some people may have been scratching their heads when the San Francisco 49ers signed Shareece Wright.
After all, Wright didn’t exactly set the world on fire during his time with the San Diego Chargers. While he did start 27 games, the 5’11 corner struggled in coverage, grading out in the bottom 10 at the position in both 2013 (-11.1) and 2014 (-16.4) according to Pro Football Focus. He was also called for 13 penalties last season alone and has managed just one career interception.
Nine of those numbers are very encouraging, and it raises a fair question about why general manager Trent Baalke would have brought Wright in to begin with. But Baalke isn’t looking at where Wright has been, as much as he is where he could end up. While Wight struggled in San Diego, Baalke believes his skills can transfer successfully into the 49ers’ defensive scheme. So much so in fact, that he recently compared him to another underachieving corner who thrived for a time in San Francisco, Carlos Rogers.
“Four years ago when we signed Carlos Rogers, a lot of the same stuff was said about Carlos Rogers,” said Baalke. “And that ended up playing out pretty well for us. (I) feel very good about Shareece as a player. There’s things, like all players and everybody in this business, you have to work on. But (I) feel very good about what he brings to the team.”
Like Wright, Rogers was also signed to a one-year deal when the Niners brought him in prior to the 2011 season. Rogers was seen a disappointment during his six-year run with Washington, only posting eight interceptions in six seasons. Baalke felt Rogers’ skills would translate well with then coordinator Vic Fangio’s defense, and he could revive his career.
In the case of Rogers, Baalke was spot on. The maligned corner would go on to set a career high with six interceptions in 2011 and make the only Pro Bowl of his career. Rogers would play three years with the 49ers and start every game on a team that made it to three straight NFC Championships.
Wright will have the opportunity to make a similar impact, as he will be right in the middle of the competition to start opposite Tramaine Brock, and could be seen as the front runner heading into camp. If Wright sticks with the first team he would have earned it, as there will be significant competition from the like of Chris Cook, Keith Reaser and Dontae Johnson.
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