Emmanuel Moseley’s 2019 season with the 49ers exceeded all projections.
Now, what will he do for an encore in 2020?
The cornerback out of Tennessee went undrafted in 2018, was signed to the Niners’ practice squad, then appeared in one game his rookie year, playing just three snaps before suffering an injury and being placed on injured reserve.
He then became a breakout player in Year 2, appearing in all 16 regular-season games – and starting nine – playing 56 percent of all defensive snaps and 41 percent of special-teams snaps.
When starter Ahkello Witherspoon struggled, Moseley stepped into the lineup and played much better than expected. The 5-foot-11, 184-pounder had an interception, eight passes defensed and was in on 50 tackles. In three postseason games he had an interception and four passes defensed.
He started the season with a base salary of $495,000, but earned more than $500,000 more by hitting several performance-bonus clauses. The Niners then re-signed him to a new one-year deal for $675,000.
He’ll go into 2020 with a chance to compete with Witherspoon (and probably a highly drafted rookie) for the cornerback job opposite Richard Sherman.
The competition will be fierce, but defensive coordinator Robert Saleh is a big fan of the young corner.
“E-Man’s got a great mindset to him,” said Saleh. “He’s not afraid of anything, and that’s the No. 1 prerequisite for a corner is you can’t be scared. He’s also got a very short memory, so if he does get beat he’s able to line up as if nothing happened and keep grinding. There’s no fear in his football game.”
Saleh says Moseley’s mindset, physicality and “football IQ” are all assets.
“We just have a tremendous amount of confidence in him,” said Saleh.