Chris Culliver is working out daily at the 49ers’ practice facility. But after missing last season with a torn ACL, the team has not cleared him for 11-on-11 work.
Culliver and Tramaine Brock are likely to be the 49ers’ starting cornerbacks this season. Chris Cook, who had problems on and off the field in his four seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, could make a challenge for a starting job.
Brandon Flowers is coming off his first Pro Bowl. Ironically, it came after what was widely regarded as a down year for him.
The Kansas City Chiefs on Friday released Flowers, 28, who was scheduled to make $7.5 million this season. He certainly will not make that much money with his new team.
The 49ers have $5.725 million in salary cap room. The 49ers place a value on every free agent. At the right price, they’d likely be interested in adding Flowers. But what is the right price?
Among the 79 cornerbacks around the NFL who had at least 50 percent of play time, Flowers ranked 67th, according to Pro Football Focus’ grading system. Brock ranked 14th. In 2012, Flowers ranked seventh of 71 qualifying cornerbacks, according to PFF, while Culliver was No. 24.
Did Flowers just have a bad season or is he on the decline?
He is listed at 5-foot-9, 187 pounds. With teams gravitating more toward bigger cornerbacks, he does not have ideal size.
Flowers played the slot receiver on 272 snaps last season, according to PFF. He surrendered a passer rating of 96.3 on those plays with 33 completions on 48 attempts for 345 yards and a touchdown.
Here’s how the 49ers look at cornerback with their mandatory minicamp scheduled for Tuesday-Thursday in Santa Clara:
Tramaine Brock (5-10, 197): He played well after moving into the starting lineup when Tarell Brown was injured. He signed an extension last year that pays him like starter.
Chris Culliver (6-0, 199): He was on pace to be a starter last season until going down in training camp with a torn knee ligament. The 49ers expect a full recovery. Only off-field concerns have delayed the 49ers from pushing toward a contract extension for Culliver (seen, below).
Chris Cook (6-2, 212): There’s no denying his talent. He was the 34th overall pick in the 2010 draft. He has been working with the first team defense at right cornerback while Culliver rehabs. “He’s ascending now that he’s got a good grasp and understanding of our system,” 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said. “He’s showing up. He’s making plays, getting his hands on the ball, making interceptions. He’s doing a very good job.”
Eric Wright (5-10, 200): He has 81 career starters in seven NFL seasons. The 49ers acquired him during training camp and he missed camp as he dealt with a personal issue. He left practice on June 3 with an undisclosed injury. He was not on the field when the media was allowed to watch on Tuesday.
Perrish Cox (6-0, 190): He did a commendable job as the nickel cornerback in two playoff games when Carlos Rogers was unable to play. The coaching staff had more confidence in Cox than Wright, even though Cox was signed after the final regular-season game.
Darryl Morris (5-10, 188): He made his mark as a rookie on special teams. He has skills as a cornerback, too. He looked good during practice Tuesday while working in the slot.
Dontae Johnson (6-2, 200): The fourth-round draft pick has a good blend of size, speed and smarts. The initial evaluation from organized team activities is that he looks like a keeper.
Kenneth Acker (6-0 ,195): He has good speed and ball skills. But the sixth-round pick faces a tough challenge to earn a roster spot.
And . . .
Jimmie Ward (5-11, 193): Although he’s not a cornerback, the 49ers envision their first-round draft pick covering the slot receiver when the 49ers are in their nickel defense. He has not participated in practices in the offseason as he recovers from offseason foot surgery.
Photo of Chris Culliver courtesy of AP.