It's usually not a good idea to take a rookie defensive back and ask him to switch positions during his first year at the NFL level. But that's what the San Francisco 49ers did with former Southern Mississippi safety Tarvarius Moore after selecting him in Round 3 of the 2018 NFL Draft, hoping he'd transition to boundary cornerback.

The move made sense at the time, especially after Moore flashed an impressive 4.32 40-yard dash during his pro day. With veteran cornerback Richard Sherman, who was then newly signed, just crossing the 30-years-old threshold, finding a long-term replacement would be ideal.

But defensive backs often struggle transitioning to the NFL. The routes are far more complex and the receivers are better and more physical.

Not surprisingly, Moore's limited efforts last season weren't exactly eye-popping.

Yet that was before the Niners moved Moore back to safety during organized team activities -- a move mandated by a collarbone injury to the likely incumbent starter, Jimmie Ward. Whether or not that switch for Moore is permanent is anyone's guess. But Bleacher Report's Brent Sobleski is viewing Moore as a prime candidate to have a bounce-back sophomore campaign in 2019:

The San Francisco 49ers decided to switch last year's 95th overall pick, Tarvarius Moore, from safety to cornerback because the defensive back could run well. Moore ran a 4.32-second 40-yard dash at his pro day.

Moore isn't a natural corner, and he struggled. As a result, the 49ers are expected to move the second-year defender back to safety.

"His best fit I think is free safety," safeties coach Daniel Bullocks told NBC Sports Bay Area's Matt Maiocco (h/t Yahoo! Sports). "We all evaluated him in college, and we liked him because he was playing free safety.

"We knew he had the measurables, the size, the length, the speed and the cover skills to go play corner, so that's why we put him at corner his first year. But I think he's at home now. He's excited to play free safety. I'm excited to work with him at free safety."

Some of the numbers and evaluations for Moore at safety were echoed by Pro Football Focus, too:


"You see the game differently. When you're at corner, you see the game outside-in. When you're playing safety, you see it in front of you," Bullocks continued. "It'll take him some time to get back in the groove because he hasn't played the position in a year."

If Sobleski is right, however, the amount of time Moore needs to re-acclimate himself to life at the back end of the secondary won't be too long.

And in a best-case scenario, the 49ers will no longer have to worry too much about trying to find a long-term option at the position once 2020 rolls around.
  • Peter Panacy
  • Written by:
    Peter Panacy has been writing about the 49ers since 2011 for outlets like Bleacher Report, Niner Noise, 49ers Webzone, and is occasionally heard as a guest on San Francisco's 95.7 FM The Game and the Niners' flagship station, KNBR 680. Feel free to follow him, or direct any inquiries to his Twitter account.