49ers position battle No. 2: Safety
Players in the mix: Talanoa Hufanga, Tarvarius Moore, Leon O’Neal Jr.*, George Odum, Jimmie Ward
San Francisco has relatively few starting jobs wholly up for grabs this offseason, but one of those is at strong safety where it elected to let the longtime starter, Jaquiski Tartt, hit the free agency market.
The 49ers, wisely or not, elected to pass on many of the promising NFL Draft prospects for this position, only grabbing rookie Leon O’Neal Jr. as an undrafted free agent. And while O’Neal projects as an in-the-box strong safety-type of player, he’ll still face a long road towards cracking the 53-man roster.
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This doesn’t mean it’s a position of strength, though.
Assuming Jimmie Ward returns to his free safety spot, Talanoa Hufanga, Tarvarius Moore and George Odum are all poised to compete for Tartt’s vacancy. The problem, though, is both Hufanga and Odum are special teams-caliber players, and Moore is both coming off a torn Achilles suffered a year ago and has primarily been little more than a big-nickel safety at this point in his career.
Needless to say, it’s fair to be concerned about this position.
Perhaps the Niners made some additional moves here, but the final determination as for who starts at strong safety might come down simply to who is the “least worst” out of the bunch.