No. 1: 49ers Defensive Back Tarvarius Moore
2021 is a crucial season for fourth-year defensive back Tarvarius Moore who, despite showing flashes of playmaking brilliance, has frequently been a liability in pass coverage when given increased looks.
Entering a contract year, this season will define whether or not the 49ers want to make Moore a part of their long-term plans. And with strong safety Jaquiski Tartt also a pending free agent in 2022, there’s a good chance the Niners want to get younger and possibly cheaper.
More from Niner Noise
- Predicting 49ers NFL Draft picks by looking at final mocks
- DraftKings NFL Draft Promo – Win $150 Guaranteed on Any $5 Bet
- 2023 NFL Draft: EDGE Byron Young could be impact player for 49ers
- 5 low-key NFL Draft options for 49ers who are flying under the radar
- Updated 49ers salary cap space ahead of 2023 NFL Draft
Tartt will start. So will free safety Jimmie Ward. But both players have an extensive injury history, which is one of the reasons why Moore saw 52 percent of defensive snaps last year and just under a quarter of defensive snaps in both 2018 and 2019, too.
Yes, rookie safety Talanoa Hufanga is in the mix for field time as well. But Moore is much more versatile, and his straight-line speed can match wide receivers and faster tight ends. San Francisco has used Moore as a strong safety, free safety, boundary cornerback, big-nickel defensive back and even someone to cover the slot.
Despite Moore’s gaffes in pass coverage, that versatility goes a long way and likely helps guard against some of the injury worries the 49ers should have with their defensive backfield heading towards the regular season.
It wouldn’t be shocking, particularly if Tartt and/or Ward suffer any kind of serious injury, to see Moore out on the field at least a third of defensive snaps this season.