Bill Walsh once said, “Consistent effort is a consistent challenge.” And I couldn’t agree with him more.
Finding consistency on any part of an NFL team is challenging. Whether it be consistently scoring on offense, constantly locking down on defense, even being consistently impactful on special teams; consistency is rare. It separates the Super Bowl teams from the teams that are drafting first overall.
This season, we’re seeing a young and blossoming defense. From the likes of Dee Ford and Nick Bosa, to the fiery Kwon Alexander, and behind them, one of the best cornerbacks in the game in Richard Sherman.
However, what happens when something that is quickly improving gets halted? In this case, the loss of Ahkello Witherspoon could derail the 49ers’ defense. Lost to a foot sprain for more than a month, his presence as a budding CB has been stopped.
Who’s the next man up? Jason Verrett or Emmanuel Moseley seem the likely candidates. At the moment, neither have much confidence from the fan base.
Enter in All-Pro Jalen Ramsey. Lots of speculation has been going about as to whether or not John Lynch and Co. should go after the highly touted cornerback. There are many factors that go into acquiring him such as:
- Trading draft capital (multiple first rounders and more)
- Having to re-sign Ramsey (1 year left after this season)
- The impact signing Ramsey has on the 49ers’ ability to re-sign other players (Buckner, Kittle, Armstead, etc.)
- Scheme fit into Robert Saleh’s defense (man vs. zone)
Do I think that the 49ers should add Ramsey? Absolutely. You see teams such as the Rams and Eagles sacrifice capital and look where that’s got them so far. I believe the 49ers are in a position where they can sacrifice draft capital and not be hurt from it.
Let’s assume the 49ers win/make the Super Bowl after adding Ramsey, perhaps just make it to the NFC Championship. Those first round picks move to the late 20s or into the 30s.
Although first rounders, those draft picks are still no sure thing when drafting a player. Teams are likely to get a high calibre player no more than fifty percent of the time with those picks. That kind of capital, is worth sacrificing if it means you’re adding future Hall of Fame talent.
Aside from that, I believe re-signing him would be easier than people think and not create a barrier to re-signing other 49ers stars ready for extensions. With a booming salary cap that’s only going up every season, it would be more than possible to re-sign him to a good deal. Paraag Marathe is a contract wizard, if anyone can make it work, and still resign Kittle and Buckner, it’s him.
Finally, scheme fit. Defensive Coordinator Robert Saleh has noticeably changed up his scheme concepts, mixing in a greater variety of zone coverages alongside man coverage, and blitzes. What we’ve seen out of him is the ability to only have to rush four defensive linemen.
After the loss of Witherspoon, that much more pressure is added onto the secondary. Between the two likely replacements, Verrett is coming off a two year long absence from the game, and Moseley is very unproven. Why not add Ramsey, the most surefire and safe player a team could possibly go for? His level of play would bring this defense to a level that the 49ers haven’t seen in years.
Furthermore, with more teams playing nickel and dime defenses, making room for Witherspoon when healthy after adding Ramsey is more than attainable.
This 49ers team is on the brink of making magic happen, and the addition of Ramsey would take them into the upper echelon of NFL teams. This defense is special as it is, however, if they want to counter high powered offenses such as the Rams and the Saints, a talent such as Ramsey is vital for this team’s success.