The San Francisco 49ers are on hand for some voluntary workouts and this weekend's rookie minicamp, and that has provided some media availability. Head coach Jim Tomsula had a chance to chat with the local media, and he gave third year linebacker Nick Moody a vote of confidence.
Tomsula was asked about the team's reported interest in free agent inside linebacker Lance Briggs, and he used the opportunity to praise the team's current group. He said NaVorro Bowman is looking good, and the team is treating him like a normal veteran, as opposed to a post-injury player. He complimented the other linebackers, and most noticeably mentioned Moody:
"Right now, where we're at, things are really good out there." Tomsula said. "I'm talking about the guys who are on the field for us. Talking about Michael Wilhoite and NaVorro Bowman, but a guy that's really moving around and feeling the defense in the right way is Nick Moody. I've been pulling for Nick. He's working really hard.
"He's one of those guys that you notice. I'm walking out of here and he's got all of his books. You can just tell. We feel good there. I feel good with the guys who are on the field right now."
The 49ers signed Philip Wheeler and Nick Bellore, and re-signed Desmond Bishop prior to the draft. They did not add any rookie linebackers, which means this is likely the group that will head into training camp. It is certainly possible they still sign Lance Briggs, particularly given that Trent Baalke and not Jim Tomsula is responsible for the 90-man roster. My guess is they do not end up signing Briggs, but I imagine it is still on the radar to some extent. They will see what the current group can do, and if need be, they can still add Briggs down the road.
Moody has been primarily a special teams player for the 49ers through his first two seasons. He got starting inside linebacker work this past December after Chris Borland joined Patrick Willis on the injured reserve list. Moody did not play particularly well, but it is worth noting he has fairly limited linebacker experience. He was a safety early in college, switching to linebacker his final year at Florida State.
Right now, Bowman and Wilhoite are the starting linebackers, with everybody else competing for whatever they can get. I imagine those two will be starting when Week 1 gets here, but as we saw last year, the more quality backup options, the better. I am taking Jim Tomsula's comments with a grain of salt, as I do with most positive comments at this point in the offseason. Nonetheless, it is still good to hear.