49ers: Why Jaylon Moore pushes Shon Coleman off roster by Week 1

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) /

The 49ers added Western Michigan tackle Jaylon Moore in the 2021 NFL Draft, and he could bump the veteran, Shon Coleman, off the roster.

The San Francisco 49ers‘ moves during the offseason made a pretty good indication head coach Kyle Shanahan wasn’t happy about his offensive line after 2020.

There were four major transactions. The most noteworthy, of course, was re-signing Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams to a massive new deal, while the free-agent pickup of center Alex Mack certainly didn’t fly under the radar. Then in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Niners used two of their picks to select Notre Dame guard Aaron Banks in Round 2, then a fifth-rounder on Western Michigan offensive lineman Jaylon Moore.

Banks is expected to start his rookie season at right guard, likely bumping the versatile Daniel Brunskill into a primary reserve role, which is fine.

But Moore, who primarily played tackle at the collegiate level, is also expected to serve as a versatile backup. And his presence doesn’t necessarily spell good news for other depth linemen such as Tom Compton, Colton McKivitz, Justin Skule and, most notably, swing tackle Shon Coleman.

49ers likely to choose Jaylon Moore over Shon Coleman, Tom Compton

Compton was likely brought back merely as a camp body after not exactly performing well in fill-in duties last season. But Coleman, whom San Francisco acquired via a 2018 trade with the Cleveland Browns, has somehow managed to stick around with the 49ers despite not yet having played a regular-season game since 2017.

It’s not entirely Coleman’s fault.

In 2018, Coleman wasn’t needed outside of being a reserve piece. The Niners O-line stayed almost entirely healthy that year. Then, during the 2019 preseason, Coleman suffered a significant season-ending leg/ankle injury before electing to opt out of his 2020 campaign.

Related Story: O-line moves will define 49ers’ 2021 offseason

San Francisco knows what it has in players like Skule and McKivitz, and they’re both young enough and within the early stages of development to warrant additional time on the roster.

At 29 years old, Coleman doesn’t have that same luxury. His not having played a regular-season game since 2017 also doesn’t help here, while Moore’s versatility as both a guard and potential swing tackle increase the chances of the 49ers electing to keep him on the 53-man roster over a player like Coleman.

There’s the cost factor, too.

According to Over the Cap, Coleman’s deferred contract from his opt-out is set to make up to $1.13 million in 2021, yet there’s only $137,500 in dead money if he is cut. While Moore has yet to ink his rookie deal, OTC’s projection for the total four-year contract here is $3.8 million with a 2021 total cap hit of $740,759.

From a cost-savings perspective, it makes sense to go with Moore over Coleman anyway.

The Niners selecting two offensive linemen in this year’s NFL Draft ultimately mean two other returning veterans could easily depart the 53-man roster. Banks essentially removes a player like Compton from the regular-season equation, while Moore ends up unseating Coleman from his spot on the depth chart.

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