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5 things to know about K Jake Moody, and why the 49ers made him a third-round pick

Apr 28, 2023 at 9:41 PM--

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Kickers don't often get selected in the third round of the NFL Draft, but the 49ers made an exception Friday night when they used the 36th pick in the third round (99th overall) to add University of Michigan kicker Jake Moody.

Moody (6-1, 209) won't be found on any top 100 prospects lists, but most analysts agree he is the best kicker available in the 2023 NFL Draft. With a need at the position due to the departure of Robbie Gould, and with no picks in Round 4, the 49ers decided to make sure they brought Moody into the fold by adding him before the end of Day 2.

"You think you're looking at there's probably five to six teams who you feel need a kicker," 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said after the conclusion of the third round Friday evening. "So the whole debate is where to go get that guy, because it's someone you need to get. And when you look at the history, the majority of kickers go in the fourth round. We didn't have a fourth round pick. The guy was not going to be there in the fifth round.

"And when you look at pick 99, I know they call it the third round, but to me it's seven picks after the third round ends, so I feel like it's the start of the fourth round. So to me, that was the spot that we felt would be the spot to get them, but that's why we were also nervous that someone could come up to 100 and take them. So very glad that we got him."

The 49ers addressed the position in March by trading for former Carolina Panthers and Arizona Cardinals kicker Zane Gonzalez, and Shanahan got a bit of ribbing when the 49ers made the pick ("Most of my friends made fun of me. They're trying to make me feel insecure about it," Shanahan said). But drafting Moody helps move Shanahan closer to the peace of mind he had over his six seasons with Gould, which he's more than happy about.

"It's not quite as fun as some other things can be, but I think it would be if we had a bad kicker for the last six years," Shanahan said. "I think everyone would be like, all right, we finally invested and we got one. But when you have one who's been like Robbie and so consistent, it's a little anticlimactic, but it was something that is extremely important."

Here are some things for 49ers fans to know about Moody, starting with a connection he forged with Gould in recent months.

A Gould-en endorsement

One reason Moody feels like a fitting heir apparent to Gould is the bond they developed before the draft, due in part to the two kickers sharing the same agent. Gould met with Moody at the NFL Scouting Combine, driving from Chicago to Indianapolis to do so, and since then he's been helping Moody prepare for the NFL.

"I'm not sure if he just kind of felt the need to kind of pass the torch down to, like, a newer guy in the league or what," Moody told reporters Friday. "But he's been a really good mentor these past few months, and he's been helping me out with a ton of stuff, whether it's, like, combine stuff or preparing for the draft and all the workouts."

Moody heard from Gould after being selected from the 49ers. Despite the fact Gould is heading elsewhere this offseason, he had nothing but good things to say about the 49ers when communicating with Moody.

"He's been telling me how great it is, and he actually just texted me a few minutes ago saying how excited he is for me and telling me how great of a place it is," Moody said.

The 49ers like his mental makeup

Replacing Gould won't be easy, nor will stepping into a starting spot on a Super Bowl contender as a rookie. But the 49ers did their homework to make sure Moody was the right guy, and they liked what they heard.

"There was a guy who had arrived (at Michigan) before him who was a really highly recruited guy, more heralded than Jake, and Jake came in was pretty good," 49ers general manager John Lynch said Friday. "(Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh) put him through a competition, as explained to me, that only Jim Harbaugh could do, and it was pretty intense, and the kid was nails and really kind of fought through that to win the job over a guy who was a really big recruit and all that. And so they really speak of him glowingly there."

49ers special teams coach Brian Schneider was sold on Moody after doing some research of his own.

"Schneider got to be there, spent some time with them and really became convicted," Lynch said. "That not only the way this guy kicks the ball both on his kicks and in kickoffs, but the personality, which is important for that position, the confidence, the steadiness was all there."

Ready to jump out of the frying pan and into the fire

Moody sounded excited about the opportunity Friday night, reflecting the type of attitude Lynch mentioned.

"Yeah, I mean, it's obviously a great team that I'm joining, and I couldn't be happier," Moody said. "Anything I can do to help the team win a Super Bowl, that's obviously the goal, but obviously it's already a great team to be a part of, and I'm so excited."

Moody kicked in some high pressure situations at Michigan, while also getting experience kicking in the Midwest weather. It'll all help his chances to succeed in San Francisco, as will working with an experienced punter in Mitch Wishnowsky and long snapper in Taybor Pepper.

"Mitch and Tabor, they're great guys that I'm going to get to work with, and I'm so fired up," Moody said.


Moody was 69 of 84 on field goals at Michigan with a long of 59. He connected on 23 of 25 field goals in 2021 and 29 of 35 in 2022. His 29 field goals set a single-season record and helped him earn first-team All-Big Ten honors. Moody also set a school record with 147 points, which beat a record set by Desmond Howard in his Heisman-winning season in 1991 (137 points).

On kickoffs, Moody had a career average of 60.3 yards with 222 touchbacks. Moody had a 63.6-yard average in 2022 with 66 touchbacks. He was perfect in 2022 on extra point attempts (60-for-60).

Michigan's best ever?

Aside from Tom Brady, one of Michigan's most famous and popular alums in the NFL world is Rich Eisen of the NFL Network, who couldn't have been more thrilled at the fact Moody was selected in the third round. Watch below:

Eisen called Moody the best kicker Michigan has ever had.

"He is beyond reliable, and the 49ers and you fans in San Francisco and throughout Niners Nation are going to love Jake Moody," Eisen said.

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