The San Francisco 49ers report for training camp on July 25th, at which point position competitions will work their way into focus. Training camp also means we finally get to see the youngest and newest members of the 49ers get into pads and engage in some real contact with the team for the first time.
As training camp approaches, we thought it would be fun to take a look at each of the 49ers notable rookies, and consider the best and worst case scenarios for them this season. We are looking at draft picks and a handful of UDFAs. Additionally, by best and worst case scenario, I’m thinking realistic best and worst. Sure, they could become All Pros as rookies or could end up getting cut by the end of training camp. But let’s consider realistically what would be the best and the worst for each.
The next stop brings us to the 49ers’ third-round pick, Southern Mississippi’s CB Tarvarius Moore. The former collegiate safety will be transitioning into a new role in the NFL, thanks to his 6-foot-2, 193-pound frame. The 49ers’ third-round selection possesses a unique combination of speed (4.32-second 40-yard dash), size and explosiveness on the field. His 104 tackles, 10 passes defensed and five interceptions in two seasons at Southern Miss. validate that claim. While it’ll take time for Moore to figure out the nuances of the cornerback position, the sky is truly the limit for this 21-year old.
Best case scenario for 2018
The 49ers have found their starting outside cornerback of the future to pair with CB Ahkello Witherspoon. There’s no guarantee that CB Richard Sherman — who’s slated as a starter headed into training camp — will return to pristine form. Outside of OT Mike McGlinchey, most in the media are extremely high on Moore’s upside for 2018. The ex-Southern Miss defensive back should carve out a role for on defense with a lot of three wide receiver sets being used in today’s game. Before the end of the season, Moore should be the starting corner opposite to Witherspoon.
Worst case scenario for 2018
The transition from safety to cornerback can be challenging, especially against NFL-level talent. Moore struggles to mold into a press-cover defender during his rookie season and slides into a backup role behind Sherman, Witherspoon, CB K’Waun Williams and DB Jimmie Ward. Moore’s a near-lock to make the roster, no matter what his performance looks like during training camp, due to where he was drafted. But the 49ers do not get a strong contributor right off the bat, instead they’ll have to wait a season or two for Moore to make a real impact on defense.