The San Francisco 49ers surprised a lot of people on Friday when they decided to draft Samford safety Jaquiski Tartt. There were plenty of questions about the pick giving that he went to SAMFORD and not STANFORD. We'll get to those, but here is an answer to the basic question of how do you pronounce his name. Thanks to Scott Kegley on the 49ers PR staff:
It’s pronounced Juh-QUAH-skee— Scott Kegley (@ScottKegley) May 2, 2015
The bigger question of course is what will Tartt do for the 49ers. He played safety, and all indications are that he is best suited for the strong safety role. He stands 6'1, 220 pounds and is a big hitter from what I have read. He sounds great for the run game, but needs to work on his coverage. Matt Miller said he could also drop down into some nickel linebacker work.
I have to imagine he will play a lot of special teams early, but people want to see him on defense sooner rather than later. Long term, he could be an Antoine Bethea replacement. Additionally, given Eric Reid's multiple concussions, his future could very well be at least a little bit precarious.
Jimmie Ward, who Tartt said was a best friend of his from high school, is currently the team's nickel back. His foot injury is going to remain a concern until he proves he can last on the foot. It makes sense to add one more safety, although I am a little surprised they went this early. Even Tartt was surprised:
Jaquiski Tartt on going 2nd round to #49ers: "I was expecting third or fourth round."— Cam Inman (@CamInman) May 2, 2015
Obviously Trent Baalke liked him. I had heard earlier in the day some rumors that Baalke was high on Tartt, although I did not have anything super solid to run with. Obviously it turned out more solid than I expected. For now though, we wait and see how quickly he can emerge into some kind of defensive presence. This marks the second straight 49ers pick of the 2015 NFL Draft where the 49ers appear to be thinking more long-term than short term. That is not the end of the world (well, to some), but it certainly causes us to take pause trying to figure out what's next.