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Kenneth Acker Makes Statement with Stellar Series

Posted Aug 17, 2014

In a span of five snaps late in the third quarter against the Denver Broncos, the San Francisco 49ers rookie cornerback made his presence felt in a big way Sunday.


In a game void of many San Francisco 49ers highlights, you’d be hard-pressed to find a player in red and gold on the field Sunday who delivered a better sequence of plays than rookie cornerback Kenneth Acker did late in the third quarter – even if one didn’t end up staying in the box score.

Spanning just five snaps, the Southern Methodist product broke up a would-be touchdown pass, drew an offensive pass interference penalty and intercepted a deflected ball, a turnover that got wiped out as linebacker Aaron Lynch was flagged for offsides.

“Any time I get the ball in my hand, it feels good,” Acker said. “Just seeing the ball around gets me anxious.”

So which Denver Broncos-thwarting play was Acker proudest of?

“I would say the pick, but it got called back, so we can’t talk about that,” he said. “The pass breakup, I made a nice read and got across the receiver without touching him, so I felt like that was a good play and it showed a little bit of athleticism.”

The play also showed a high-level understanding of the scrutiny defensive backs are under in the NFL. With Broncos receiver Bennie Fowler running a post route toward the end zone, Acker’s coverage needed to be aggressive without creating the type of illegal contact referees look for in the secondary.

The rookie fifth-round draft pick walked that fine line like a seasoned pro.

“Just using my opposite arm, if you touch him with the other hand when he’s running a post, it’s going to look like a hook,” Acker said. “It’s something that ‘DBs’ work on a lot. I played a lot of off coverage at SMU, so I think that’s something that translated to the NFL. It was something that I’m pretty comfortable at.”

Aiming to secure a coveted spot on the 53-man roster, Acker will need to repeat days like Sunday in order to accomplish his goal.

“Coach (Jim Harbaugh) sat us all down after the first game and talked to us about how everyone has a chance to make the team and there’s an opportunity to make a play on any play,” Acker said. “The first couple weeks were a learning experience, but now it’s time to play… I just want to show what I can do.”