Yesterday, we took note of the fact that the San Francisco 49ers would be a much better team in 2012-13 if Alex Boone won the starting job at the right guard position, beating out recent signee and veteran of 150-plus games, Leonard Davis. Boone, with more upside and athleticism, would have to show a technical understanding of the position to beat out a veteran like Davis, regardless of how far past his prime he may be. This in itself would be huge for the 49ers, who are searching for an answer at the position.
Now we'll look at another player who is new to the team and what it would mean if he catches on: cornerback Perrish Cox. Unlike Davis, the 49ers would be very well off if Cox won himself some playing time to go on top of that roster spot he's not yet guaranteed and is presently fighting for.
Cox's primary competition is Tramaine Brock and, let's be honest, he's been less-than inspiring since he mysteriously rode the roster with no real purpose when Mike Singletary was in charge. This was at the expense of some promising guys, most notably linebacker Diyral Briggs. Of course, he didn't go on to be anything special (though he does have a Super Bowl ring as a special teamer with the Green Bay Packers), but the point stands.
Brock is just not a technically sound cornerback. It seems as though he's kept his place on the roster due the fact that he's good in practice, but when he actually plays in games, he's routinely bested by wide receivers. Obviously, if Cox beats him for the nickel cornerback spot, then the 49ers are getting the better player, but Cox winning such a battle also could say some things about the future of the position for San Francisco.
Fans shouldn't forget the fact that Cox was considered something like late first- to second-round talent when he was drafted. A number of off-the-field issues have marred his career thus far, and he's only just not coming back into the NFL. But he's still a young player, and if he can even begin realizing that potential that had Denver Broncos fans deeming him the replacement to Champ Bailey, then the 49ers are in good shape.
So much like the promising Boone, San Francisco would be in a great position if Cox were to step it up, earn a spot on the roster and playing time in the lineup at the nickel position. It'd be nice if he contributed more than special teams help in general, really - but for now, the potential is still there.