In 2017 the 49ers struggled with depth at the cornerback position.
They signed All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman so they wouldn’t end up in a situation like last season. Rashard Robinson was traded at the deadline, leaving the 49ers to lean on Dontae Johnson and rookie corner Ahkello Witherspoon with practice squad players Greg Mabin and Tyus Powell behind them. That didn’t work out too well.
After taking cornerbacks in the third and fifth rounds, the 49ers continued to load up on the position by adding two undrafted rookie free agent cornerbacks, one of which is Emmanuel Moseley, a 5-foot-11, 190-pound CB out of Tennessee.
The 49ers used this offseason to get faster, and Moseley was no exception. At his pro day in Knoxville, he clocked in at 4.42 in the 40-yard dash. He tacked on a vertical jump of 38 inches and a 10’6” broad jump. His 21 reps on the bench press also tells me that he’s a hard worker.
All of the attributes are good but, can Moseley cover?
The first thing that jumped out to me was how physical he was. Now, there were definitely some missed tackles but the effort was always there.
On film there were some hard hits, as well as just some clean tough football plays. It’s never fun taking on pulling guards and tackles, but here, Moseley flies in and “wrong shoulder’s” the pulling lineman to force the run back inside.
Here is Moseley coming on a blitz, seeing the ball handed off and meeting the back in the hole and then taking on the back in the open field to make a tackle. Good, clean football plays that you want to see your cornerback make.
And then you have the big hit that the NFL is trying to get rid of, but this was a nice clean hit. He led with his shoulder and didn’t make contact to the head. I think it’s safe to say he would not get ejected for this hit.
Moseley played with a swagger and confidence that I love seeing in cornerbacks. His coverage was up and down but he has the quick feet, athleticism and fluidity to be a good cover man. Even on plays he didn’t win, it was good seeing the aforementioned attributes in full effect.
When looking at an undrafted free agent, one thing I’d look for is what can I coach up?
I don’t know the coverage here but I would tell him to challenge himself a little more. If it’s a Cover 3 and the coach is telling you to absolutely not let the receiver get on top of you, I get why he’s off so far. But if it’s any other coverage I’d like to see Moseley challenge himself a little more. Again, good feet and I can see the explosiveness out of his break. I can work with that.
The 49ers have not had the best pass rush so a defensive back that can flash sticky coverage on an extended play is key. Moseley shows that here and then lets you see that swagger he plays with.
Looks like Cover 2 here. Moseley quickly puts his foot in the ground and drives to break up the pass. Again, simple yet good sound football play.
Earlier I showed a jump ball that he lost, but on several occasions he won – and did so with quick feet and aggressiveness as the ball was arriving, and the want to rip the ball out.
And then from off coverage, Moseley is able to backpedal and turn and run with receivers effortlessly downfield and squeezing him to the sideline. Showed good eye discipline here by not looking back until he was in phase and had the receiver controlled.
Emmanuel Moseley is a very intriguing cornerback. He went undrafted so there are definitely things he needs to work on, but he has the skillset to play at the next level. He played against the most elite athletes in the SEC. If Moseley can work on being more consistent, he will compete with the other UDFA cornerback Tarvarus McFadden for a roster spot.
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