Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Emmanuel Moseley offers this advice to undrafted players who won’t have a preseason

Jul 30, 2020 at 3:34 PM--

San Francisco 49ers cornerback Emmanuel Moseley wasn't drafted, so he had to fight harder to prove himself during his rookie offseason in 2018. The hard work earned him a spot on the team's practice squad, and he was eventually promoted to the active roster for a game against the Oakland Raiders. But a shoulder injury landed him on injured reserve.

Moseley earned a spot on the 53-man roster last year, thanks to a strong offseason and preseason. He is grateful for the opportunities to prove himself and realizes incoming undrafted rookies may not have the same chance this year.

There have been no team-organized offseason practices due to the coronavirus pandemic. Training camp is about to begin but will look very different as the league navigates its way to the 2020 season while trying to keep COVID-19 from derailing everything.

The preseason was a casualty of those precautions. The entire exhibition schedule was canceled so that players will have the proper time to ramp up to playing in games while reducing the health risks. While that is good news for the league as a whole, it takes away an opportunity for undrafted free agents to prove themselves to coaches.

"No preseason is very weird, especially for a player like me," Moseley told WFMY News. "I was undrafted, so you needed preseason to make the team, and I feel like that's what gave me my edge my first two years in order to be on the practice squad my first year, and then last year actually making the squad. I think preseason helped.

"So I feel bad for guys that are coming in undrafted in my position. It can always be hard to make the squad without preseason, but I would say this for the people out there that's undrafted or not: Just put your head down, and just do what you've got to do. Keep your faith, and everything will work out."

Head coach Kyle Shanahan said last week that he feels the team will be able to get a good amount of work in without the preseason because it won't have to worry about playing games that don't impact the standings. He added, though, that exhibition games are helpful when two or more players are neck and neck in a training-camp competition.

The coach has noted that, if given a choice, he would prefer zero preseason games to four. Two, however, seems like the sweet spot for him.

"I mean, I'm all for the preseason because there's a couple of guys we've never seen in a game, who are pretty good in practice," Shanahan said. "And then you throw them out there in a preseason game, and they freak out. And you're like, 'Alright, they're not ready. We've got to put them on the practice squad.'"

Added Shanahan: "And how bad does it suck for guys not to get film who won't make the team? ... But this year, our goal is to get to the season and have a year."

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