49ers Safeties (5)
FS Jimmie Ward
SS Jaquiski Tartt
FS Tarvarius Moore
SS Talanoa Hufagfa
FS/SS Jared Mayden
This is the other position, like linebacker, where the numbers are in question. In the end, the safeties could see only four while the linebackers move up to five, but at the moment the edge goes to the defensive backfield.
The starters appear to be Jimmie Ward and the returning Jaquiski Tartt, both of whom will need to stay on the field since they have both proved to be above-average NFL starters when they do so.
Tarvarius Moore is an unusual case of a guy who has never really gotten an opportunity to prove himself full time. For a while, it looked like the 49ers might let Tartt walk, making room for Moore to start opposite Ward rather than running with a more traditional free safety/strong safety setup.
Tartt’s deal doesn’t necessarily mean he’s locked in, but Moore will need to prove he can be starting material, as he looks to not only create a role for himself in 2021 but make the case for a new contract as his rookie deal expires after this season.
Rookie fifth-round pick Talanoa Hufanga could actually be the link between how many linebackers or safeties the Niners eventually keep, as the former USC defensive back looks a little like a young Fred Warner on his college tape, meaning he could project as a hybrid player who could fill either role as called upon.
The fifth safety, if there is indeed one, should be someone who can fill in at either position, something former Alabama defensive back Jared Mayden has done in his college career. He likely supplants long-time depth piece Marcell Harris, who the 49ers may see as surplus to requirements with Hufanga in town.