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Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Shanahan identifies one 49ers defender who’s developed admirably

Rohan Chakravarthi
Nov 20, 2021 at 1:45 PM--

The 49ers defense had a resurgence last Monday Night, showing out with two interceptions, both by safety Jimmie Ward, and two sacks, en route to a primetime blowout 31-10 win over their division rivals, the Los Angeles Rams.

This week, the 49ers will travel to Jacksonville to face the rebuilding Jaguars, where that defense will look to replicate their masterful performance that they showcased against the Rams.

The 4-5 49ers are just 0.5 games back of a playoff spot, making this weekend's game essentially a must-win to gain traction in the playoff race, especially given the strength of their opponent.

When giving his final updates on Friday for Sunday's showdown, head coach Kyle Shanahan highlighted one defensive player who's developed admirably on the team: defensive back Emmanuel Moseley.

During his speech, Shanahan described Moseley's development process since he joined the 49ers as an undrafted free agent after going unselected in the 2018 NFL Draft.

"I think Emmanuel, I still don't think he's reached his full ceiling," Shanahan said. "Emmanuel's earned everything he's gotten here. He started the first year just playing on scout team the whole year. Ended up the second year, which I believe was 2019, being our starting corner, playing at a high level. I think he's played at a very high level this year."

Moseley's age-25 season has not come without obstacles, however, as the cornerback was placed on the COVID-19/Reserve list to begin training camp, which was followed by an injury, limiting his offseason productivity.

I think he'd been up and down last year. He's been up and down this year, just because of his injuries. He started out training camp missing the first 10 days because of COVID. Then he missed a number of days again in training camp after he came back with an injury. It's been up and down throughout this time, so he's just starting to get back, to me, to his level of play before. And now that he's there, the way he's made, the way he works, now I know he'll only get better."

Moseley's development is definitely something to notice, as the 5'11, 190 pound corner fought his way from an undrafted free agent to overtaking Akhello Witherspoon as a starter on a playoff team, before coming into his own this year as San Francisco's top defensive back.

After missing the first two games of the season, Moseley has stepped up as San Francisco's top corner and has unquestionably been a critical player on this DeMeco Ryans-led defense, especially after then-top corner Jason Verrett went down with an ACL tear in Week 1.

On a defense surrounded by stars like Nick Bosa and Fred Warner, Moseley and the secondary was seen as the weak link on this 49ers team.

However, in the time that he's been healthy this year, Moseley has stepped up as a true No. 1 corner, as he has ten passes defended, which is fifth best in the NFL, while allowing a completion percentage of just 56.5% and a passer rating of just 73.4 this season.

Now, the move to re-sign Moseley to an extremely team-friendly, 2-year, $10 million deal in the offseason seems like a very smart move by the 49ers, especially with the lack of depth in the secondary.

A key staple to this 49ers defense, Moseley will look to build on his impressive fourth NFL season against Jacksonville on Sunday, where he'll go up against the likes of Marvin Jones Jr., Laviska Shenault Jr., and Jamal Agnew.

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