The buzz surrounding San Francisco 49ers rookie defensive back Tarvarius Moore continues to intensify. Bleacher Report recently called him the team’s best pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. The website noted Moore's ideal build and athleticism to play corner in San Francisco’s defense.
That’s exactly what the 49ers are counting on as they begin to transition the college safety into an NFL corner. Moore’s head coach at Southern Miss, Jay Hopson, is all in on the defensive back’s ability to thrive in the pros no matter which position he plays.
“I think the 49ers got a steal. He’s a kid that’s going to get better and better,” Hopson said during an appearance on the 49ers Studios Podcast. “His athleticism is off the charts. The bottom line is that he’s a great player, and he’s got great athletic upside. I think ‘T’ is going to be an All-Pro one day, I really do.”
An All-Pro? Those are lofty expectations to put on a young kid just out of college. But that also speaks to how much faith Hopson has in his former pupil. The coach knows Moore better than just about anyone.
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“He’s a ‘turf eater.’ He’s a guy who flashes on film,” Hopson continued his scouting report of Moore. “He’s a tackler. He’s physical. He’s a kid who can do it all. Any time you’re building a program, he’s the perfect kid. You’re going to see a guy who is even better next year. By Year 3, I think he could be a talent who is off the charts. He’s an outstanding young man.”
Hopson went on to call Moore a “numbers to numbers guy,” which means to say that the dude has ridiculous range when patrolling the secondary. That’s what made him such an impressive safety in college. But at 6-foot-2 with long arms, the 49ers saw a prototype corner, which is where Moore will begin his NFL career.
According to Hopson, Moore has great hips and can cover 1-on-1. In zone, he will eat up open space to make a play on balls in front of him and has more than enough speed to cover vertical passes.
“Either way, whether he’s a corner or a safety, I think San Francisco got a gem,” Hopson said.
Moore was disappointed to be snubbed an invitation to the NFL Combine. Hopson has been in the business long enough to not be surprised by anything. As a junior college transfer, Moore took a year to get adjusted to the D1 game. He improved rapidly during his two years at Southern Miss and finished his 2017 season with three picks and 87 total tackles.
But he still flew under the radar during the pre-draft process. A few teams, the 49ers included, thought they had a hidden gem on their hands. Moore’s electric pro day performance, highlighted by a 4.32 40-time, turned heads around the league.
“You knew it was going to happen,” Hopson said. “The few scouts that I talked to, I told them that he was going to test better than anyone in America. That’s just what he did, and the secret was out. He’s a special talent.”
Moore’s tantalizing athletic profile will have fans eager to see him in action. Hopson is confident that the 49ers third-round pick will live up to the hype.
“His skill set is as good as I’ve ever seen,” the coach said. “You’re not going to find his athletic ceiling in many players from New York to California.”