3 players 49ers should be concerned about entering 2021

San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw (99) Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw (99) Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /
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Emmanuel Moseley, SF 49ers
San Francisco 49ers defensive back Emmanuel Moseley (41) Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports /

No. 3: 49ers Cornerback Emmanuel Moseley

In the case of fourth-year pro cornerback Emmanuel Moseley, any concerns are less focused on his development and centered more around his projected role on the 49ers defense this season.

Over the last two years, Moseley was tabbed as more of a fill-in defensive back, someone who could step in on a pinch and relieve a would-be starter in case of injury or dramatic drop in effectiveness, which is essentially what he did for now-Seattle Seahawks cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon in 2019 and then veteran corner Richard Sherman in 2020.

2021 essentially marks the first year in which Moseley was handed a starting job, given both Sherman and Witherspoon are no longer with the team.

True, the Niners drafted two rookie corners this year, Ambry Thomas and Deommodore Lenoir. But expecting mid- or late-round cornerbacks to come in and start right out of the gate is usually a tall order.

For San Francisco defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans, going with Moseley in tandem with fellow boundary cornerback Jason Verrett might present the best option for the starters, at least when facing off against experienced wide receivers in meaningful games. Moseley has yet to take a preseason snap and missed a good chunk of training camp after being placed on the reserve/COVID list.

It’s not a massive worry just yet. But understanding Moseley’s role as a potential full-time starter and the importance his presence will have upon the defense, it’ll be vital for Moseley to return and ascend from being a fill-in option into a quality piece within the secondary.