Rising Stars: Tramaine Brock ready to step up for the San Francisco 49ers in 2014

During the 2013-2014 season, the San Francisco 49ers extended cornerback Tramaine Brock's contract for four years. At the time of the extension, the 49ers still had Carlos Rogers and Tarell Brown as their starting cornerbacks. Things have changed dramatically since, and Brock appears to be the expected shutdown corner for the 49ers this upcoming season.

With Brown and Rogers out, Brock is poised to become the top cornerback in Red & Gold. He showed some flashes of extremely high upside during the 2013-2014 season, especially when given the opportunity to start while Rogers and Brown dealt with various injuries.

Brock recorded 35 tackles and five interceptions in just seven starts last season. In his limited time as a starter, Brock proved that he was great at reading routes and making big plays on the ball. The best example of his route-reading abilities came in just minutes into Week 5's game against Houston, when he saw Matt Schaub's pass intended for Andre Johnson coming before Johnson did...then returned it 18 yards for a touchdown.

Another attribute that shows Brock's high potential is his skill as an open-field tackler - he isn't afraid to get down and dirty. Some of the best corners in the NFL, like 49ers nemesis Richard Sherman and Arizona's Patrick Peterson are extremely physical, and Brock has all the trademarks of a punishing hitter.

Watching the highlights in the video below gives a great (although slightly-embellished) look at how effective Brock can be:


There are plenty of indications that Brock is poised to become a shutdown corner for the 49ers, and also become a top-10 corner in the entire league. The 49ers obviously saw greatness in him when they locked him up during the middle of last season, even though he was just third on the depth chart.

It wouldn't be surprising to see Brock among the league leaders in interceptions and tackles, and if he develops as the 49ers think he will, Pro Bowl recognition isn't out of the question at all. Brock has the potential to be a world-class player, and he'll get to show the world what he can do this year when he becomes San Francisco's number one corner.

The weakest part of the 49ers defense when Jim Harbaugh became head coach was the secondary. It now appears that the secondary could become another strength, with Eric Reid, Antoine Bethea, Tramaine Brock, and Chris Culliver anchoring a high-potential unit.

One thing is for certain - Brock definitely has the skill to become a top cornerback in the NFL. As long as he remains focused on improving his overall game, the sky is the limit - Brock has all the tools to leave his mark as one of the best corners ever to suit up in San Francisco.

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