4 positions 49ers are unlikely to draft for in 2021
By Peter Panacy
No. 3: 49ers Free Safety
Things get a little murkier when trying to figure out what the Niners do within the secondary despite bringing back Jaquiski Tartt.
For now, Tartt is pegged to start alongside free safety Jimmie Ward. But with Tartt boasting a lengthy injury history and back only on a one-year deal, San Francisco will likely look pretty hard at some closer-to-the-box safeties in this year’s class.
In fact, they already have.
It’s magnified by the fact fellow safeties like Tarvarius Moore, Marcell Harris and Tavon Wilson are in contract years, too.
The one player who isn’t, however, is Ward. He’s signed through 2022 and remains one of head coach Kyle Shanahan’s favorite players.
True, the 49ers’ recent alignment away from a single-high Cover 3 defensive scheme means both the free and strong safeties are much more interchangeable now than they were back in 2017 or 2018. But it doesn’t seem too likely the Niners are intent on finding a true centerfield-type defensive back with the ranginess and converging skills necessary for a single-high role.
If they do grab a safety, it’ll likely be someone closer to Tartt’s ilk who can play closer to the line of scrimmage.