49ers draft pick Jaylon Moore likely pegged as backup guard

Offensive Lineman Jaylon Moore #74 from Western Michigan (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)
Offensive Lineman Jaylon Moore #74 from Western Michigan (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images) /

While not a flashy pick, 49ers rookie offensive lineman Jaylon Moore could carve out a spot on the depth chart as a backup guard.

The San Francisco 49ers spent day three of the 2021 NFL Draft mostly reinforcing their secondary and offensive line.

After not having a pick in Round 4, the Niners spent their first of three fifth-round selections on Western Michigan offensive lineman Jaylon Moore, who’ll be thrust right away into a competition with returning veteran interior linemen like Tom Compton, Daniel Brunskill, Justin Skule and Colton McKivitz as well as the team’s second-round pick, Notre Dame guard Aaron Banks.

San Francisco has somewhat neglected its guard spots along the O-line in recent years, and the injury attrition this unit suffered last year forced Brunskill over from his starting right guard spot to center.

It’s pretty clear the 49ers didn’t want to go through that again. Particularly in the wake of Compton and McKivitz struggling in bigger roles than they were anticipated to fill.

49ers project Jaylon Moore as a reserve guard but appreciate his versatility

Banks’ addition likely pushes Brunskill back to his uber-backup role for 2021, while veteran left guard Laken Tomlinson is signed through the upcoming year.

Assuming the Niners keep two interior linemen on the 53-man roster, and if Brunskill is one of them, one has to assume they keep only two of the four remaining between Compton, Skule, McKivitz and Moore, especially if one of those can double on the outside as a tackle.

It appears as if that’s what head coach Kyle Shanahan has in mind, at least according to his comments to the press last Saturday:

"Jaylon, I’d say ideally a guard, but we feel he has the skill set and stuff we can move him out to tackle, also. Similar to some of the guys that we have there that can play both the spots. I think in an ideal world, we’d probably keep him at guard, but we’re excited he can do both."

Flexibility and versatility are important traits for backups, and it would appear as if Moore has proven that to Shanahan in pre-draft assessments.

Jaylon Moore could be a quality 49ers scheme fit

Whereas Banks was more of a man-gap blocker, Moore projects as a much more natural zone-style blocker.

Bleacher Report’s Brandon Thorn broke down the fit with San Francisco:

"Moore is a three-year starter at left tackle in Western Michigan’s shotgun, zone-based run scheme with solid athletic ability, play strength and movement skills at the second level. Moore is efficient getting to his spot in his 45-degree pass set against most competition, and he has the frame, girth and grip strength to cover up defenders in the run game to seal off lanes on kick-out and combo blocks."

The latter part should be what grabs attention.

The 49ers execute plenty of kick-out blocks and pulls, meaning interior linemen need to be able to move well enough and deliver a quality block without too much difficulty. Western Michigan didn’t shy away from this, and you can get the idea in the video below:

Thorn also admitted Moore’s weaknesses, which included a pad level too high and some late timing with his blocks.

But for a backup, getting the technique down while being able to move well should mesh well for Shanahan’s offense.

At the beginning, one could figure the Niners prefer to see Moore develop as a better option over players like Compton and potentially McKivitz, and anything beyond just being a backup would make Moore a great value pick.

If anything, he already has the recency bias.

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