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Kenneth Acker Improves During 49ers Workouts

Posted Jun 9, 2014

Rookies like cornerback Kenneth Acker are making the most of their first offseasons in the National Football League.


Organized Team Activities are now entering week three for the San Francisco 49ers.

With all the practice time, newcomers like fifth-round draft pick Kenneth Acker have grown tremendously in less than a month since the 2014 NFL Draft.

“I just see the comfort level rising with everybody, the comfort of being in a new system and the comfort of being around everybody,” the 6-foot, 190-pound cornerback out of SMU told 49ers.com. “Every day, I just try to get better and I feel like I’ve been improving a lot.”

Acker was one of three cornerbacks selected by San Francisco last month. While fifth-round draft pick Keith Reaser of Florida Atlantic recovers from an ACL injury, Acker is directly competing for playing time with fourth-round draft pick Dontae Johnson and a handful of veterans on the roster.

But before Acker can earn a specific role as a rookie, he must first show the coaching staff that he’s able to learn Vic Fangio’s defensive system.

“I’m just trying to do my part and learn as fast as I can because I know that’s the biggest part in this whole situation,” said Acker, who started all 12 of SMU’s games last season, totaling 46 tackles, one sack and a team-high three interceptions. “The coaches aren’t going to put you in if you don’t know what you’re doing.”

Acker, like Johnson, is looking to make a name for himself this offseason in what looks to be an open battle for key cornerback roles.

“Every day I take it as a competition,” Acker said. “Everybody can play. Everybody is good here. Everybody by you is working just as hard, so you have to up your game every day.”

Tramaine Brock appears to be the only lock to start at cornerback.

This explains why Acker is closely studying the habits of the fifth-year pro who inked a four-year extension last November.

“He’s cool people,” Acker said of Brock, a 25-year-old who led the 49ers with five interceptions in seven starts last season. “He helps us a lot with little things, with techniques. Coming off the field he’ll say things.

“He’s not much of a vocal guy at this point in time, but little conversations and watching him helps me out a lot. His technique is real crisp.”

Acker has seen action in 46 collegiate games and takes pride from his experiences against wide receivers currently enjoying success in the NFL.

Enter former Texas A&M standout receiver and Tampa Bay Buccaneers first-round draft pick Mike Evans.

Although Evans’ team bested Acker’s SMU squad to the tune of a 42-13 victory last September, the 49ers rookie held Evans to his smallest single-game total in all of ast season.

Evans caught two passes for 57 yards with Acker covering him for most of the game. Evans caught a 46-yard pass on a drag route, but even so, Acker took self-assurance from the experience.

“I try to go on the field with a certain confidence about myself,” Acker said. “I played against a lot of guys that have excelled in the league.

“I haven’t seen some of these guys before, but I’ve seen some pretty talented guys. So it really helps you mentally that you’ve been there before. At the end of the day it’s one-on-one when you’re playing on the corner spot.”

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