Following his performance against the Seattle Seahawks, it becomes apparent that Tarvarius Moore should be starting at cornerback for the San Francisco 49ers for the rest of the year and longer.
I don’t want to say I told you so, but I told you so. Back in training camp, yours truly wrote a piece about Tarvarius Moore, detailing how “with both technique and talent, Moore’s got amazing potential. He could easily become a key piece of the San Francisco 49ers secondary.”
And what do you know, it looks like Moore might become a key piece of the secondary following his strong performance versus the Seattle Seahawks in Week 15. Yes, he gave up a touchdown to wide receiver Doug Baldwin after just coming into the game, but that was due to the rust. From there, he helped lock down what was a strong exterior cover game.
The stats point to quarterback Russell Wilson having a field day, but important to note is that his running backs combined for 92 yards. Per Pro Football Focus (h/t Niner Nation), Moore was targeted 10 times, allowing five catches for 37 yards. Now, PFF graded Moore at 52.8, but that doesn’t take into account how he got better as the game went on. By the end of the game, Moore had two tremendous pass defenses.
But we aren’t here to talk about players starting for the rest of a meaningless season. I’m talking about being in contention for a starting spot next year, and the year after that. Tarvarius Moore should, at the minimum, be in contention for the second starting spot next year.
Now, Witherspoon has shown potential alongside fellow cornerback Richard Sherman. But for all the potential that Witherspoon has, Moore oozes raw talent ready to be molded.
For a quick comparison, Moore ran a 4.32 40-yard dash and is a first-time corner, while Witherspoon ran a 4.45 40-yard dash and is in his fourth or fifth year as a corner (including college). Moore is also two years younger.
Clearly, the tools are more apparent in Moore. And that’s not to say that he is a complete project. Even in college, Moore had to cover, and per NFL.com’s Lance Zierlien, he “operates with smooth backpedal and loose hips to match route breaks”.
Not to mention this:
Moore has the ability to become a matchup nightmare. With his speed and potential growth, he would be able to shut down seemingly any wide receiver. A corner his size, with 33-inch arms, and with his speed becomes a valuable commodity.
And even though Moore gave up five receptions, after Baldwin, he wasn’t beaten badly on any play. Most of his receptions allowed were contested. Not to mention that he managed to blow up a few run plays.
With Sherman now in town, playing as the second boundary cornerback has changed significantly. Gone are the times when they could sit back and watch Dontae Johnson get targeted every play.
Moore gives the 49ers a young athletic corner to develop and throw out there. If no one else is brought in, there is no reason why Moore shouldn’t be on the field next year with Sherman.