Tarvarius Moore had a quiet rookie season after changing positions to cornerback. With the 49ers secondary injured again, he could be thrust back into his original position.
Tarvarius Moore was drafted in the third round and 95th overall in the 2018 draft. When he was drafted he was drafted as a safety but the 49ers had other plans for him. What the 49ers saw was a speedy safety that can tackle with solid ball skills. Due to this, the 49ers decided to move Moore to cornerback. Lets take a look as to why Tarvarius Moore is a super sleeper for 2019.
Southern Mississippi Pro Day
Leading up to the NFL combine Moore was coming off an excellent Senior season at Southern Mississippi. During his Senior season totaled 87 tackles (59 solo), three tackles for a loss, 10 passes defended, three interceptions, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery garnering an honorable mention All-Conference USA selection. That season was dedicated to his sister who had passed that previous August when a blood vessel burst in her brain.
In 2018 Tarvarius Moore was a standout at his pro day, where scouts watched his measurables and his athleticism being put on display. During his pro day he put up huge athletic numbers. Moore ran the 40 yard dash in a blistering 4.32 seconds which would have tied him for the fastest at the NFL combine. To go along with the 40 time he added a 39.5 inch vertical (good enough for 6th best), an 11’2 broad jump (tied for the best) and a 6.89 second cone drill (tied for 5th best among safeties).
Moore measured in at 6’2 and 190 Lbs. His wingspan was also measured at a lengthy 33 inches. The combination of height, wingspan, and speed is what caught the 49ers eye. In Defensive Coordinator Robert Saleh’s defensive scheme they rely on their cornerbacks to win one on one battles. Because of this, taller speedy corners are the apple of their eye and made Moore a third round selection.
2018 NFL Season
Tarvarius Moore had a mixed batch of a 2018 season. He did not see much playing time until the injuries piled up late in the season. The conversion to cornerback did not go exactly as planned as his played showed that there was definitely a learning curve. At safety you can use your eyes on the quarterback in coverage more because you rarely are put into man coverage. When Moore went one on one on the outside in 2018 he was caught looking at the QB too much and gave up plays because of it. Here are two examples of this exact problem:
Tarvarius Moore has to anticipate this comeback just a little more.. widened the receiver to the sideline.. read the receiver down.. feet looked real heavy at the top of that route and then his eyes went to the QB before driving his man..that slows you down getting out your break pic.twitter.com/LjigsZka2C
— CrockTIME (@eric_crocker) August 31, 2018
That split second of looking back at the QB before driving his man at the top of this route, cost rookie Tarvarius Moore here. pic.twitter.com/UrPSKlpA73
— CrockTIME (@eric_crocker) December 16, 2018
Though Moore was beat in coverage often, there were glimpses of great play. Here you see his speed as he breaks on the inside move to make the pass deflection leading to an interception:
Tarvarius Moore shows why the team thinks he can successfully convert to corner. Explosive athleticism to break on the ball and has the length to stretch and get the PBU. pic.twitter.com/ZaDRVSvx9i
— Oscar Aparicio (@BetterRivals) August 19, 2018
What might be my favorite play of his rookie season was a play he made on star receiver Allen Robinson. Robinson beat him in coverage and made the catch to turn up field for extra yardage. Moore never gave up on the play, recovered, and uses a beautiful punch to force the fumble and the turnover:
Jimmie Ward’s injury has opened the door for Tarvarius Moore to play his natural position at safety! AND IM ALL FOR IT! pic.twitter.com/w53u1vfEVC
— ourSF49ers (@OSf49ers) May 29, 2019
Moore finished his rookie season with 23 total tackles, two passes defended and a forced fumble as seen above while playing 21.6% of the teams defensive snaps. He was able to make the most of his opportunity though having 19 of those tackles in the last four games. During that span he also averaged playing 67.25% of snaps which grew to 86.67% in the last three games.
What Will Happen in 2019
The original plan was for Moore to keep getting run at cornerback and battle for a starting spot with Akhello Witherspoon across from Richard Sherman. The 49ers took a risk and resigned often injured Jimmie Ward to be the starting free safety for the team. Guess what happened…Ward is injured once again. Ward dove for a pass and broke his collarbone requiring surgery to repair it. He is said to be out until training camp leaving the free safety spot up for grabs until then.
Many thought that the job would instantly go to Adrian Colbert after he impressed during his rookie season. Colbert struggled mightily in 2018 and then was injured himself placing him on injured reserve. Marcell Harris was drafted in 2018 as well but in the sixth round. He played well but does not have nearly the draft capital investment that Tarvarius Moore has.
Moore showed great playmaking during his time at safety in college. He used his speed to make great breaks on the ball and athleticism to make pass deflections. Here are a few examples that showcase those playmaking skills:
Tarvarius Moore, a 6'1, 190-pound physical freak: 4.32-second 40-yard dash, 38.5-inch vertical leap. Rangy, physical and versatile. He'll start his career as a backup for both Tartt and Colbert, but could eventually challenge for a starting spotpic.twitter.com/CHnZJE3Ib0
— Kevin Jones (@Mr_KevinJones) April 28, 2018
Tarvarius Moore showing his change of direction and aggressiveness. If his transition to corner works then 49ers will be set at corner for years to come.
Ahkelo + Sherman + Tarvarius#49ers #SouthernMiss pic.twitter.com/3laRdNWIOb
— John Chapman (@JL_Chapman) May 7, 2018
Moore played both corner and safety in college but excelled at safety as seen here with Pro Football Focus:
— PFF SF 49ers (@PFF_49ers) June 26, 2019
I expect an open battle during OTA’s with Antone Exum, Colbert, Harris and Moore for the free safety spot. Based off of draft capital and skill alone, I expect Moore to easily win that battle. The big battle I want to see is when Jimmie Ward returns from his surgery and battles Moore to retain his starting spot.
What 49ers FS Numbers Translate To
Here we take a look at what being a free safety under Robert Saleh translates to fantasy wise. In 2017 Jimmie Ward was the starting free safety under Robert Saleh for the first seven games of the season until he was injured. During those games he totaled 32 tackles (27 solo), one tackle for a loss, one pass defended and a fumble recovery. After Ward was injured Adrian Colbert filled in and started the last six games of the season. During those six games he totaled 24 solo tackles, four passes defended, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. So combined the starting free safeties for the 49ers in 2017 totaled 56 tackles, one tackle for a loss, five passes defended, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
Adrian Colbert was the starter week one in 2018 and made six starts before his injury totaling 21 tackles and one pass defended. D.J. Reed started two games totaling seven tackles (did his best work at nickel corner). Antone Exum also made seven starts and totaled 30 tackles, two tackles for a loss, six passes defended, and one interception. Collectively they totaled 58 tackles, two tackles for a loss, seven passes defended and one interception. No disrespect to any of these guys but I feel Moore could easily outproduce those numbers.
Based off draft pedigree Moore easily beats out Exum, Harris, and Colbert in OTA’s for the starting free safety spot. Then during training camp Ward and Moore have a heated battle ultimately being won by Moore. Moore and Ward have similar skill sets but Moore will have momentum having been through OTA’s and the offseason workout program. Ward’s health plays a big part as well. He may play fewer snaps as a replacement defensive back anywhere on the field to keep him healthy. If Moore is given the keys I think he can outproduce all the previous free safeties Saleh has had. My prediction would be 70 tackles, 10 passes defended, two interceptions and a forced fumble.
From a fantasy standpoint this would be the best case scenario having Moore win the free safety job. Since his position was moved to cornerback after he was drafted he is still listed as a cornerback on most if not all fantasy websites. If your IDP leagues force you to play cornerbacks, which hopefully is a rule that catches on, then you are in luck. Being able to play a starting safety on a team that is real short on safety help as your cornerback is perfect. If this scenario plays out than Tarvarius Moore has legitimate CB1 potential. I will be drafting him with my final pick in most drafts just in case this plays out.
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