The 49ers haven't always been known for their great cornerbacks, but there are still many well-known names in the franchise's history.

The San Francisco 49ers are best known for their outstanding offensive players, especially at wide receiver and quarterback.

When you think of the defensive side of the ball, top-notch defensive linemen and linebackers come to mind.

Still, there are plenty of top-notch cornerbacks who made it to the Niners in one way or another, and for some of these standout players, you don't need to look at the stats and awards to remember how great they really were.

Sure, some of the cornerbacks on our top 10 list were famous long before they moved to San Francisco, but even those players accomplished enough in the Bay Area to establish themselves as the greatest of all time.

For this list, we consider each player's stats on the 49ers, as well as their time on the team, individual accolades, and other X-factors that make them stand out from the crowd.

Here are the 10 best cornerbacks who called themselves Niners.

10th place: Ahmed Plummer (2000-2005)

Some may argue that Ahmed Plummer never truly developed into a cornerstone of San Francisco's defense when he was drafted in the first round out of Ohio State University in 2000, but those first four years were still pretty remarkable.

In 2001, Plummer recorded a whopping seven interceptions and intercepted 18 passes, suggesting that he would be a staple for the 49ers for many years to come. In fact, the 2002 and 2003 seasons suggested that Plummer was consistently intercepting passes during that time period and recorded five more interceptions.

Unfortunately, Plummer was plagued by many injuries starting in 2004 and only played in nine games in his final two years in the NFL before retiring in 2006.

No. 9: Charvarius Ward (2022-present)

A more recent addition to the Niners' all-time best cornerback list, Charvarius Ward was a high-profile free agent addition who was expected to help solve one of the team's glaring needs beyond 2021.

Ward did not disappoint, securing his side of the field, recording 87 tackles and solidifying San Francisco's secondary.

In 2022, however, Ward emerged as a true star, earning his first Pro Bowl honors and being named second-team All-Pro after recording five interceptions and 23 pass breakups, an NFL record.

8th place: Don Griffin (1986-1993)

Although Ward has been impressive during his time with the 49ers, he hasn't been with the team nearly as long as Don Griffin. That long stretch began when he was selected in the sixth round of the 1986 NFL Draft and became a full-time starter in his first year. He recorded three interceptions in his rookie year and also served as a returner on special teams.

Griffin remained in that role largely through 1993, winning two Super Bowls and being part of some legendary defenses, including the 1989 team that many consider to be the greatest Niners team of all time.

However, 1987 was perhaps Griffin's best year. Despite missing four games, he set a new career high with five interceptions against a defense that ranked first with 2,484 passing yards allowed.

In 1994, San Francisco opted for an upgraded player, Deion Sanders, forcing Griffin to move to the Cleveland Browns, ending his professional career after earning 22 picks for the Red and Gold.

7th place: Richard Sherman (2018-2020)

For years, Richard Sherman tormented the 49ers as a member of their arch-rivals, the Seattle Seahawks.

When he decided to jump ship within the NFC West in 2018, he was already a superstar and many fans were skeptical of Sherman's move, especially after he suffered a torn ACL that effectively ended his time in Seattle.

But Sherman played a crucial role in developing the Niners defense into a true fighting machine that led San Francisco to the Super Bowl a year later.

Sherman won his fifth Pro Bowl in 2019 while also being named second-team All-Pro. “Uncle Sherm” has been a mentor to many younger members of San Francisco's defense for years.

6th place: Eric Davis (1990-1995)

In 1990, Eric Wright was preparing to retire and a newcomer named Eric Davis entered the fray.

The 49ers didn't lose too much there.

Although he had to wait until 1992 to really make a name for himself, Davis nevertheless became a crucial part of the Niners' early 1990s teams that made the playoffs every year, and set an NFL record for most consecutive postseason games with at least one interception (five).

In the 1995 NFC Championship Game, Davis turned an interception into a touchdown to set the tone against the Dallas Cowboys, ending a situation that had previously caused frustration every year for San Francisco in the penultimate game of the year.

Davis had 12 interceptions and six forced fumbles during his career with the 49ers before joining the Carolina Panthers as a free agent in 1996.

5th place: Deion Sanders (1994)

If we were to rank the best season by a cornerback in 49ers history, Sanders would be No. 1, hands down. His No. 5 appearance on this list is based almost entirely on the fact that he spent just one season with the Niners after joining as a free agent from the Atlanta Falcons and already establishing himself as a future Hall of Famer.

Sanders, who wanted to win the Super Bowl, delivered one of the best performances of all time in the magical 1994 season with San Francisco, intercepting six passes, recording three defensive touchdowns and an incredible 303 interception yards – both NFL highs that year.

Sanders was a smooth Pro Bowler and was selected to the All-Pro first team. He was named Defensive Player of the Year in 1994 and played a key role in helping the 49ers to their fifth Super Bowl victory in franchise history.

This year, he even finished third in the league’s MVP vote.

Unfortunately, the following offseason, Sanders decided to sign with the Cowboys and continue his legacy there rather than stay in the Bay Area, much to the dismay of Niners fans everywhere.

4th place: Bruce Taylor (1970-1977)

If one had to choose between Sanders and Bruce Taylor for a season, in 10 out of 10 cases the former would get the nod.

But Taylor surpasses Sanders on this list simply because of his long tenure with San Francisco, and Taylor was a great cornerback in his own right.

Selected in the first round of the 1970 NFL Draft out of Boston University, Taylor was best known for his ability as a returner on special teams, but he performed equally well on defense and was named Defensive Rookie of the Year in his first year after recording three interceptions and leading the league with 516 punt return yards.

A year later, Taylor made his first and only Pro Bowl.

Taylor started 101 of 109 games during his professional career, all for the 49ers. While he was largely overshadowed by another player on this list, he still managed to be one of the best cornerbacks in Niners history.

3rd place: Kermit Alexander (1963-1969)

Before Taylor, San Francisco had one of the best defensive backfields in the NFL, thanks in large part to the excellent play of Kermit Alexander, who was drafted in the first round of the 1963 draft out of UCLA.

Alexander made at least five interceptions in five of his seven years with the 49ers, including nine in 1968 that earned him his first and only Pro Bowl honor. In addition, Alexander led the NFL in fumble recoveries in 1964 and 1965 with five and eight, respectively.

Alexander also played on special teams and led the league with 741 kick return yards in 1965, further underscoring his ability.

Looking at his entire career, Alexander's 36 interceptions are currently the third most in franchise history.

2nd place: Eric Wright (1981-1990)

Wright may not have been the interception-generating machine that Alexander and Sanders were, but the Niners' second-round draft pick in 1981 is still considered one of their best defenders of all time – and not just as a cornerback.

In his rookie season, Wright was a full-time starter and later made a game-winning tackle against the Dallas Cowboys just minutes after “The Catch” gave San Francisco the lead in the historic 1982 NFC Championship Game.

In 1983, he set a new career high with seven interceptions and converted two of them into touchdowns. However, he had to wait until 1984 and 1985 to be named to the Pro Bowl, and was also voted All-Pro in those two seasons.

Many believe the 1984 defense was the best in 49ers history, and Wright played a crucial role in creating that discussion.

He finished his 10-year career with 18 interceptions, the 15th most in franchise history.

No. 1: Jimmy Johnson (1961-1976)

Sherman will eventually be inducted into the Hall of Fame, but the only current Niners cornerbacks who can claim that distinction are Sanders and the No. 1 player on this list, Jimmy Johnson.

Johnson is undoubtedly not only the best cornerback in Niners history, he should also be considered one of the best of all time at his position.

Johnson entered the NFL as the No. 6 overall pick in the 1961 draft and got off to a good start with five interceptions and 116 return yards. He was also a second-team All-Pro player in 1965 and 1966.

But Johnson's career didn't really take off until 1969, when he became a regular Pro Bowl participant and was selected to the All-Pro first team three times.

Few other cornerbacks were as good at man coverage as Johnson, and it was unwise for quarterbacks to challenge him during the game.

Johnson was inducted into the Hall of Fame in Canton in 1994 and ranks second in San Francisco history with 47 interceptions during his illustrious career, only better than Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott (51).

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