49ers roster 2021: Jaylon Moore pegged a versatile backup

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 used a fifth-round NFL Draft pick on Western Michigan tackle Jaylon Moore, and he could translate into a key depth piece right away in 2021.

It was pretty evident this offseason San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan wasn’t entirely pleased with the performance and depth of his offensive line in 2020.

While re-signing left tackle Trent Williams solved a big piece, Shanahan’s other moves included bringing aboard veteran center Alex Mack, assisting a massive need there, while also using a second-round NFL Draft pick on Notre Dame guard Aaron Banks.

Later on in the draft, though, the Niners doubled down on their O-line needs by grabbing former Western Michigan offensive lineman Jaylon Moore in Round 5, No. 155 overall.

The move made sense at the time. Injuries at various positions, especially center, created something of a revolving door that forced San Francisco to dip into its stock of second- and third-string linemen, and the net results weren’t overly great.

While Moore is anything but assured a roster spot, the upward element of his potential suggests he could be a key reserve right away.

Niner Noise explores what Moore’s immediate role could be in the latest installment of our annual “Who is?” series.

Why Jaylon Moore impresses early with 49ers in 2021

Shanahan couldn’t have been overly happy with the performance of his two reserve guards last season, Tom Compton and Colton McKivitz. Otherwise, Moore likely wouldn’t have been in the picture.

At 6-foot-4 and 311 pounds, Moore was a three-year starter at tackle in college but figures to bump inside to guard at the pro level.

And while he was almost entirely pegged as a day-three draft pick, one scouting profile from NFL.com suggested he was pretty underrated:

"Athletic tackle/guard prospect who is at his best when he’s allowed to play on the move and utilize his athletic ability to create angle advantages in space. He’s fluid and consistent on play-side climb-ups to seal the linebacker and has the potential to help create back-side tracks for one-cut runners. He has huge hands and adequate length but needs to win early with those hands or he can be overtaken by stronger defenders. If Moore can eliminate his leaning, he has the technique and traits to be competitive as a blocker."

This suggests quite a natural fit in Shanahan’s outside-zone blocking system, which will look to take advantage of the movement skills Moore possesses. On top of that, many of the 49ers’ offseason O-line moves suggested better pass protection, and Moore appears to check off that box, according to this scouting report, too.

Why Jaylon Moore struggles early with 49ers

It’s one thing to have a lot of promise. It’s another to put those pieces together as an NFL-level lineman.

As noted in the same report, Moore has a tendency to reach a bit, which overextends his body and allows him to be off balance in pass-protection sets. One of the other elements standing out is, that while he’s effective on the move, his blocking takes a notable step in the wrong direction.

Related Story: 49ers’ Jaylon Moore likely pegged as backup guard

This could be a cause for concern if Shanahan asks him to pull a lot.

There have been struggles against bigger, stronger defensive linemen, and the lack of serious competition for Moore during his collegiate career could suggest quite the learning curve now that he’s within the pro ranks.

Projected role, impact with 49ers in year one

For the most part, aside from a competition at right guard between Banks and Daniel Brunskill, the entirety of starting O-line positions are all but set heading into training camp.

What’s up for grabs, though, is the battle to secure one of three, perhaps four reserve spots on the 53-man roster. Along with Brunskill and/or Banks, Moore would be looking to compete with fellow depth linemen like Compton, McKivitz, Shon Coleman, Senio Kelemete, Dakoda Shepley and others for these backup duties.

The battle was thinned out a bit after swing tackle Justin Skule suffered a torn ACL during organized team activities.

But by looking at the number of names alone, it’s easy to see why Moore has his work cut out for him.

The versatility and experience to play at tackle work in his favor. It might be something of a stretch to assume Moore secures the primary swing-tackle role over Coleman and in Skule’s stead right away. Yet, as one of the primary backups for interior work, Moore could easily be one of the Niners’ chief reserve players during his rookie season.

That wouldn’t be a bad investment for a fifth-round draft pick.

Next. Ranking 49ers' 10 best late-round NFL Draft picks in team history. dark