49ers roster: 5 players who must get off to hot start in 2021

Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /
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Emmanuel Moseley, SF 49ers
San Francisco 49ers defensive back Emmanuel Moseley (41) Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports /

The 49ers have some heavy expectations entering 2021, and these five players in particular need to showcase their talents right away.

The San Francisco 49ers kick off their 2021 campaign in less than a week with a road contest against the Detroit Lions. And within a hotly contested NFC West, it’s more than safe to say each week will be critical if the Niners want to regain control of the division.

And getting off to a hot start before the team’s Week 6 bye should be priority No. 1 for head coach Kyle Shanahan and Co.

In 2019, San Francisco did exactly that, boasting an eight-game win streak to open the season and becoming the last remaining undefeated team in the league. Last year, however, a still-healthy 49ers squad sputtered in a Week 1 loss to the Arizona Cardinals.

Coming out hot as a team is one thing, but it’s ultimately contingent upon individual players enjoying a hot start, too.

Particularly these five, who’ll need to bring their respective A-games to the table when the regular season begins.

No. 5: 49ers Cornerback Emmanuel Moseley

Neither the Lions nor the second team the Niners face this season, the Philadelphia Eagles, should be considered prolific passing squads, which should help ease No. 2 boundary cornerback Emmanuel Moseley into the fray a bit easier.

That’ll change in Week 3, however, when quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers come to town.

Despite the NFL Draft additions of corners Ambry Thomas and Deommodore Lenoir, Moseley is still likely pegged as the opposite starter from Jason Verrett, and there’s a strong chance opposing quarterbacks are going to test Moseley early and often this season.

Especially if they view Moseley as the weakest link in an otherwise veteran cast of starting defensive backs.

Moseley, who has bounced back and forth from the starting lineup the last two years, finally has a role all but solidified, yet it’ll be imperative for him to showcase his talents and not be a liability early this season.

At least until players like Lenoir and Thomas are ready to step up.