49ers roster 2021: 3 cheers for long-snapper Taybor Pepper

Taybor Pepper #46 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)
Taybor Pepper #46 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images) /

Not much love is given to long-snappers, but the 49ers’ Taybor Pepper certainly has endeared himself to Niners fans after joining the fray in 2020.

There might only be one or two articles dedicated to a long-snapper on any team for any given year.

By design, that’s a good thing. Long-snappers aren’t meant to be noticed, and the casual football fan might assume they’re centers in disguise, switching jersey numbers on field-goal attempts and extra-point tries.

If they are noticed, that’s usually bad.

Such was the case for the San Francisco 49ers early in 2020 when their previous long-snapper, Kyle Nelson, was wildly erratic during the team’s Week 3 win over the New York Giants. His snapping gaffes led to his release the following week.

And that opened up the door for a new long-snapping face, Taybor Pepper.

Taybor Pepper Games Played Table
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1 yr1 yrMIA16
1 yr1 yrSFO122110

Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com
Generated 7/9/2021.

Pepper, who entered the league in 2016 as an undrafted free-agent signing of the Green Bay Packers out of Michigan State, bounced around the league a bit before joining the Niners last year. While he was the Miami Dolphins’ full-time long-snapper in 2019, the unheralded nature of the job title essentially means nearly every player at this position is in danger of losing his job at some point in the near future.

This probably won’t be the case with Pepper anytime soon, though.

Why Taybor Pepper improves with 49ers in 2021

It might be a silly question, but there wasn’t exactly anything noticeably wrong about Pepper’s game with San Francisco last season.

The big mark might be his ability to just remain consistent, and those who have actually handled long-snapping duties before can probably attest to just how difficult that can be.

Even if it’s not talked about much.

Improvement for Pepper would merely include keeping his snaps on point to holder Mitch Wishnowsky. Nothing more.

Why Taybor Pepper regresses with 49ers in 2021

As was the case with Nelson early in 2020, it can be a sharp drop-off for any long-snapper, and one bad game where a player is clearly stuck in his own head and can’t get out of it might end up resulting in a release.

Nelson found that out the hard way. And beforehand, he had been one of the more reliable 49ers specialists when he wasn’t on the reserve/suspended list.

Perhaps the same fate awaits Pepper, but let’s hope not.

Future outlook for Taybor Pepper, 49ers

Perhaps understanding how there was a bit of a revolving door at the position the previous two years, thanks to Nelson’s suspension stretching between 2018 and 2019, the Niners wisely locked Pepper up on a two-year deal worth $2.08 million.

Expensive for a specialist? Perhaps. But consistency is a good thing. Not much more to it than that.

With no other long-snappers in camp, there’s effectively no one else to compete with Pepper between now and the regular season, and it’s doubtful San Francisco would waste a roster spot on a “reserve” long-snapper anyway.

If anything, Pepper is one of those players who’s rarely seen but certainly heard.

Seriously, he’s an entertaining follow on Twitter. Go check him out.

And overall, let’s give Pepper his due. Players at his position almost never receive praise otherwise.

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