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Eric Wright Has to Earn Role on Defense

Nothing will be handed to 49ers cornerback Eric Wright.

Although the veteran cornerback is close to being activated from the team's Non-Football Injury List, Wright will have to earn his role on San Francisco's improved defensive unit.

The 49ers have another two weeks to decide if the 5-foot-10, 200-pound cornerback is ready to be activated to the 53-man roster.

Wright's spot on the 49ers is not guaranteed.

"I wouldn't say it's a foregone conclusion," defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said on Thursday.

San Francisco's respected defensive mind wants to see Wright perform well enough at practice to force his way into the mix in a talented defensive backfield. The 49ers currently hold the NFL's No. 6 pass defense, allowing 219.4 yards per game.

So far, Wright has impressed Fangio with the short amount of time he's been on the field with his new teammates.

"He's getting better and better," Fangio said of Wright, who went from scout-team defensive back to being sprinkled into the second-team defense's work while practicing in London.

"This week, we put him in with the defense, a few snaps here and there and he did well," Fangio said.

The biggest key for Wright at the moment is learning the "lingo" of the 49ers defense, according to the 49ers coordinator.

"Obviously, he's not comfortable with the system yet, but he's a guy once he grasps it, he'll grow leaps and bounds because he's played in the league and has done a lot of the things we do," Fangio said. "He just has to learn to work with our guys."

Wright has 14 interceptions in 81 career games and has the ability of playing on the perimeter and as a slot defender.


The position versatility is attractive to Fangio, who said there could be opportunity for Wright if the players fall victim to attrition at cornerback, or if he's flat-out better than someone ahead of him on the depth chart.

"If he shows he can play better than who we have playing, that's the guy who will play," Fangio said.



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