- Thursday's Niners Daily looks at what a San Francisco 49ers cornerback learned after his first start in the National Football League.*
Kenneth Acker displayed nerves of steel on "Monday Night Football."
The sixth-round draft pick in 2014 made his NFL debut on a primetime stage. He also did it as San Francisco's right cornerback with the first-team defense.
"Of course you get butterflies, it's been more than a year since I've been on the field," Acker said of his four-tackle performance in a 20-3 win over the Minnesota Vikings. "I think it was more anxiety than anything.
"(But) after the first couple of plays, it just felt like I was back at home."
Acker credited his successful outing to the coaching of defensive coordinator Eric Mangini.
"The system he had in place helped everybody," Acker said. "It puts you in a position where everybody can have a chance to get to the ball. I wouldn't say it was as hard to learn just because of the delivery that he gave it – he did a good job of installing it. I picked it up pretty well."
The 6-foot, 195-pound defender was on the Injured Reserve list for his rookie campaign due to a foot injury suffered last preseason. Despite the setback, Acker learned the nuances of the professional game and prepared himself for a position battle in training camp, one that saw him earn a starting job opposite of veteran Tramaine Brock.
"It just put me in a situation where I was comfortable coming into this position," Acker said.
Athletic plays and a tough-minded style endeared him to the 49ers coaching staff. Acker displayed those qualities in a solid performance against the Vikings. He'll now get a chance to build on his Week 1 display against one of the league's top passing combinations, Ben Roethlisberger to Antonio Brown.
"It seems like every week there's a speed guy," Acker said of Brown. "I don't think there's a fall off with any team we're going to face."
Brown led the NFL with 1,698 receiving yards in 2014. The sixth-year pro has also posted 1,000-yard receiving seasons in three of his past four years.
Pittsburgh's top play-maker consistently connects with his two-time Super Bowl champion signal-caller. In a 28-21 loss to the New England Patriots, Brown caught nine passes for 133 yards and one touchdown.
When asked if San Francisco's disguised defenses against Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater will be as effective against a 12-year pro like "Big Ben," Acker was honest in his response.
"He's going to make it pretty hard (on us)," the young cornerback said. "But we have another week to practice."