At least one NFL observer thinks replacing Nate Clements with Carlos Rogers was an upgrade for the 49ers at cornerback. "I think he's a better cornerback at this point," said NFL Films' Greg Cosell of Rogers. "Nate Clements might still be a starter but his skills have declined pretty dramatically."
Rogers was drafted ninth overall by the Redskins in 2005. Current 49ers general manager Trent Baalke, who signed Rogers today to a one-year deal, was part of the Redskins scouting department in 2005, meaning that he would have scouted him very heavily that spring.
Cosell's main point during a Wednesday phone coversation with The Bee was that Rogers was not a reach in the first round that year. He described Rogers' skill set as "very, very good" and said that those skills have not gone away after six years in the league. But he said that Rogers' confidence appears to wax and wane.
"He struggled with the concept of amnesia," Cosell said. "When he gets beat, he tends to lose confidence and he gives up a tremendous amount of cushion. And that allows a lot of underneath completions."
"He's the kind of player that a coaching staff will look at, see his skill set and say, 'We can make him into a player who matches that skill set,'" Cosell said. "And that's how a coaching staff should think."
Cosell said that Rogers (6-0, 190) mostly played off coverage with the Redskins but has the ability to play press coverage. The 49ers have been playing a lot of press coverage early in training camp, although they are likely to get more diverse as the summer goes on.
One of Rogers' issues in Washington was that he often was in position to make a dramatic, game-changing interception but allowed the ball to slip through his hands. Rogers never has had more than two interceptions in a season. Clements twice had six interceptions, although his highest total in four years in San Francisco was four. Rogers, meanwhile, turned 30 last month. Clements turns 32 in December.
-- Matt Barrows