San Francisco 49ers Sign Speedy Ex-National Champion

Kary Vincent Jr., San Francisco 49ers

Getty Kary Vincent Jr. going for a pass.

Though the San Francisco 49ers were largely able to overcome Week 1 unscathed at the safety position, with the makeshift duo of Tashaun Gipson and Talanoa Hufanga both ranking in the top-10 graded safeties in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus, the cornerback spot wasn’t so lucky. Of the three cornerbacks who saw regular defensive action against the Chicago Bears, none had a PFF Defensive Grade of even 60.0 or greater, with slot corner Samuel Womack earning the best grade at 59.7 and Emmanuel Moseley bringing up the rear with a 56.8.

Considering the Bears’ starting trio of Jaylon Johnson, Kyler Gordon, and Kindle Vildor finished out the game with PFF Defensive Grades of 81.4, 62.8, and 57.7, respectively, despite having up to 43 more passing yards, the Niners’ efforts were just a byproduct of a rainy afternoon.

Fortunately, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, as hybrid defensive back Jimmie Ward and oft-injured cornerback Jason Verrett are both expected to return from injured reserve and the PUP List, respectively, but until then, the Niners may need to further fortify their defensive backfield with additional options for additional depth.

Enter Kary Vincent Jr., the hybrid defender out of LSU who can provide speed and national championship pedigree to the defensive backfield in a pinch.


Kary Vincent Jr. Was Lauded Coming Out Of LSU

A four-star recruit from Port Arthur, Texas, Vincent signed with LSU over offers from Texas, Arizona State, and TCU. Splitting his time between track and football, Vincent was a three-year contributor who played snaps at outside cornerback, slot cornerback, and safety, according to his LSU bio. Since making his first start with the Tigers in 2017, Vincent grew into a more expansive role with each passing season, becoming a starting slot cornerback in his final year in Baton Rouge and a key contributor to his team’s national championship run in 2019.

Amassing 87 tackles, 15 passes defensed, and six interceptions over his 32 games at LSU, Vincent shined at the 2021 NFL combine following a year away from the game in 2020 with a performance headlined by a 4.36 40 time and drew significant interest from scouts, with NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein grading him a fourth-round caliber performer similar to Donte Jackson:

Slot corner with average size but exceptional speed and athleticism. He could see his draft stock rise given his workout potential. Vincent has the hips, feet and burst to stay tight with routes as a pro, but only if he shows marked improvement with pattern recognition and his coverage technique. He’s played (and practiced) against NFL-caliber competition and brings a resume full of experience against quality competition. His best football could be ahead of him, but he needs to fully transition from athlete to cornerback for that to happen.

Unfortunately for Vincent, he had to wait a little longer to hear his name called than Zierlein expected, with the Denver Broncos procuring his services for a seventh-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

From there, he was traded to Philadelphia at the 2021 NFL trade deadline and appeared in two games, logging 29 defensive snaps on the season with one start. Though Vincent returned in 2022 in an attempt to make the team and was largely used as an outside corner splitting time between the second and third teams, he was beaten out for a spot on the 53-man roster by UDFA Josh Jobe and was ultimately waived.


The San Francisco 49ers Have The Perfect Mentor For Kary Vincent Jr.

Measuring in at 5-10, 185 pounds, Vincent has a perfect built-in on-roster mentor in Verrett.

Like Verrett, Vincent is a speedy cornerback with inside-out versatility and an ability to mirror opposing receivers no matter how fast they can run. If the LSU product is afforded an opportunity to learn under Verrett as he attempts to assimilate into DeMeco Ryans’ defensive scheme, it could go a long way in ensuring that San Francisco isn’t another short-term landing spot in Vincent’s NFL journey.

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