49ers depth chart: 4 backups who see increased roles in 2021
By Peter Panacy
The 49ers depth chart was tested to the max in 2020, which at least opens the door for these four backups to see bigger roles in 2021.
The San Francisco 49ers depth chart went through some massive stress tests over the course of 2020, largely influenced by the extreme number of injuries the team suffered throughout the season.
And while the 6-10 finish was less than ideal, the scenario at least gave head coach Kyle Shanahan a chance to evaluate what he had on his roster in order to better plan for the upcoming season ahead.
Hopefully, one where injuries play far less a factor.
Complicating the matter is the fact the 49ers depth chart is poised to change a lot this offseason. With nearly 40 players hitting some form of NFL free agency in 2021, along with limited resources against a smaller salary cap, the Niners have to be awfully careful about moving on from more expensive players while installing serviceable options in their respective steads.
Perhaps that’s one of the silver linings from last year: the ability to see who’s capable of filling such roles this season.
With a wild offseason just ahead of Shanahan and Co., here are four reserve players from last year who could wind up seeing their roles increased once 2021 rolls around.
49ers depth chart: Tarvarius Moore a starting safety
One of the players who benefited from injury attrition was reserve defensive back Tarvarius Moore, who ended up starting eight games in 2020 mostly after the Niners lost strong safety Jaquiski Tartt to a season-ending toe injury.
Tartt, a free agent, isn’t likely to return this offseason, meaning Moore is the clear-cut favorite to start in the defensive backfield alongside free safety Jimmie Ward.
The initial plan for Moore was to make him a boundary cornerback, using his blazing-fast speed and size to compete with big-bodied outside wide receivers. But Moore has performed better with the action in front of him, meaning his natural safety position is likely the route taken by San Francisco moving forward.
Plus, with the 49ers depth chart featuring more interchangeable safeties the last two years, one figures Moore can still use that speed to his advantage while hopefully being able to match Tartt’s on-field capabilities while being more reliable on the injury front.