San Francisco 49ers: 5 Second-Year Players to Watch in Training Camp
By Peter Panacy
Safety Jaquiski Tartt
Last season, safety Jaquiski Tartt was heralded as one of the better picks general manager Trent Baalke made in the NFL Draft.
Tartt, who was known for his hard-hitting and aggressive demeanor at Samford, brought the same physicality to the 49ers defense. Where he struggled, however, was in his pass coverage. According to Pro Football Focus, Tartt finished 2015 with a minus-8.7 pass-coverage mark.
It’s not surprising to see rookie defensive backs struggle in year one.
Following the season-ending pectoral injury to veteran safety Antoine Bethea, Tartt saw his role increase as he assumed a starting position alongside fellow safety Eric Reid.
Such a role likely won’t be the case in 2016. And it may not be the case moving forward, as Baalke hinted at defensive back Jimmie Ward eventually being transitioned from nickel back to his natural safety position.
Tartt may be utilized as more of a safety-linebacker hybrid-type player this season and beyond. And it’s a possible reason why the 49ers avoided drafting an inside linebacker altogether in 2016.
Envision what the Arizona Caridnals are doing with safety Deone Bucannon in this similar role.
Can Tartt fill the void here and maintain his prowess at such a position in 49ers sub packages? Camp will go a long way in determining any adjustments here.
Next: DE Arik Armstead