There are a handful of positions on the 49ers’ roster with massive question marks going into the year. Safety is not one of those positions.
While there are some kinks to iron out with starting jobs and whether defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans might deploy a third safety, it’s not a chore to discern which players from the offseason roster are looking at spots on the 53-man come September.
Let’s run through what that group will look like in the preseason and check for potential surprises:
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ward is a terrific player who does all the little things that make a free safety effective. His range and sure tackling have always stood out, as has his versatility to play up high, in the box and in the slot. Now he’s starting to generate turnovers after struggling in that area for the first six years of his career. Even if he’s not forcing fumbles and pulling down INTs though, Ward is a tremendous player in the back end of the 49ers’ defense.
(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
The strong safety spot is where there’s some intrigue in the 49ers’ secondary. Moore, a natural free safety, was the frontrunner to earn the SS job after bulking up last offseason. A torn Achilles in the offseason program derailed his 2021 campaign before it could begin though and he wound up missing the year. Now he’s back in action and figures to be in the starting mix again. Former strong safety Jaquiski Tartt was a good athlete with versatility to play multiple spots. Moore figures to provide that versatility as well which may give him the edge in the starting race come Week 1.
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While Moore may be the ‘frontrunner’ going into camp, Hufanga is more than capable of emerging as the starting strong safety for San Francisco. He nearly won the job out of camp last year after battling with Tartt. Hufanga wound up playing 399 defensive snaps per PFF, and had mixed results. He did break up two passes…