Jake Moody preseason debacle makes 49ers drafting him more questionable

The 49ers haven't reach Roberto Aguayo territory yet with Jake Moody, but it'll be talked about.
San Francisco 49ers kicker Jake Moody (4)
San Francisco 49ers kicker Jake Moody (4) / Ethan Miller/GettyImages

For those thinking the 49ers wisely picked kicker Jake Moody in Round 3 of this year's NFL Draft, his preseason debut won't help the argument.

It's not fair to kicker Jake Moody that the San Francisco 49ers used a third-round pick on him in the 2023 NFL Draft.

There's a lot of extra pressure that'll come with that.

Moody, like most top-performing specialists, should have been drafted no earlier than Round 5, although the scuttlebutt was the New England Patriots were going to grab Moody if the Niners didn't at No. 99 overall, so make of that what you will.

Either way, San Francisco shocked the football world last April by doing so, and in tandem with that pick, Moody needs to be far more than just an OK kicker for the red and gold during his tenure there.

He needs to be excellent.

So far, not so good in the wake of the 49ers' preseason opener against the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday, a 34-7 Niners loss in which the rookie kicker did not look good.

Strong-legged Jake Moody botches 2 field-goal tries in 49ers preseason debut

Moody did have an impressive kickoff to pin the Raiders within the 5-yard line, which will work well within the NFL's new rules, provided there isn't a fair catch.

However, Moody got his first field-goal try to close out the first half, a 40-yard attempt from the left hashmark that was hooked slightly to the left.

Then, later on in the second half, Moody had a chance to connect on a 58-yard try, yet that was pushed badly to the right and missed wildly.

“It’s something to learn from,” Moody told reporters after the game, via NBC Sports Bay Area. “We’re just going to go through a different routine, I guess, to deal with the extra time between the kick. But a lot of good learning experiences for the first game.”

The Niners are carrying another placekicker on their preseason roster, Zane Gonzalez, for whom they executed a low-end trade with the Carolina Panthers earlier this offseason.

While it doesn't appear as if Gonzalez is a threat to Moody at all just yet, perhaps San Francisco wants to keep the veteran around to heighten the competition a little longer, especially if Moody needs it.

"It just happens. I’m glad it happened now," Moody continued. "There’s a lot to learn from it. Watch the tape, stuff like that and move on to the next one."

Should 49ers have drafted Jake Moody in Round 3?

The 49ers didn't have a lot of roster holes to fill this offseason, but kicker was one of them after their longtime kicker, Robbie Gould, departed via free agency.

From that perspective, the Niners liked Moody and had more draft picks than they had roster spots available, which is fine. But, at least in terms of value, San Francisco did reach. It would have been smarter to save that pick for another position of need or to trade off for other assets.

We'll never know.

It's early, of course. Moody made those kicks with ease during training camp, and there's a reason why he was the most highly touted kicker in this year's draft.

His tenure is just off to an ugly start, though, and that'll cast a large shadow over the 49ers' decision to draft him when they did.

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