When Tarvarius Moore’s speed became a known commodity in the pre-draft scouting process, the San Francisco 49ers knew the young prospect’s cover was blown. His 4.32-second 40-yard dash during his Southern Mississippi pro day turned the under-the-radar safety into a highly-valued defensive back in the 2018 draft class.
Moore's 6-foot-2 build, 33-inch wingspan and elite speed fit the physical profile of a prototype cornerback in Robert Saleh’s scheme. That's why the 49ers decided to have Moore switch positions upon his arrival to the Bay Area. Now he's focused on perfecting his technique at corner while making the most of his blazing speed.
“I have to trust in (my speed),” Moore said. “Some plays I can say I don’t trust in my ability enough coming from a different position. Once I get the trust in myself knowing my technique is down pat and knowing that I know my assignment for each and every play, I’ll be able to play faster and have more confidence.”
Moore is currently playing behind Ahkello Witherspoon at the right cornerback spot. Two interceptions have highlighted the rookie's first NFL training camp. One of those picks came on a diving catch to intercept a sideline pass from Nick Mullens. It's evident that Moore's confidence and comfort have both progressed throughout the first two weeks of practices.
"He bought in," Witherspoon said of his understudy. "He came in as a safety and then was asked to play corner and play a certain technique that he’s never really done. For him to buy in and keep working it – he told me during the summer he was working on technique every day and you can see that from OTAs to now. I think it’s just going to allow him to take his game to the next level because he’s listening and applying."
Added Saleh: “He’s got the skill set. He’s got ridiculous top-end speed and as soon as he understands that he’s a lot faster than everybody else on the football field, and he starts to trust it and gain a little bit more patience as a corner, like we preach, he’ll continue to grow. It’s a learning curve for him. He’s got a chance and he’s got the right mindset, too, so he’s got to continue to work on his technique, effort and scheme. He’ll come along.”
Moore is eager for his first game action on Thursday as the 49ers host the Dallas Cowboys for their first of four exhibition contests. Moore is likely to see a modest amount of snaps as he works his way into the cornerback rotation. Understandably, Moore’s learning curve may be steep, but he's got an intriguing skill set for the 49ers coaching staff to mold.
“It’s something you dream about growing up - playing for an NFL team and putting on that jersey and going out there showcasing your talent,” Moore added. “I’m just hoping I can get out there, put out my best effort and put on a show.”