The San Francisco 49ers have signed 14 undrafted free agents since the 2018 NFL Draft came to a close. We could see some more UDFAs swapped in before training camp, but for the most part we know what the UDFA class looks like.
Over the next two and a half months, through the end of training camp, we’ll be trying to figure out which of the UDFAs might surprise us and grab a roster spot. There are fewer opportunities available this year, but there is a decent chance at least one of the UDFAs ends up snagging a roster spot.
We started with quarterback Jack Heneghan, moved on to running back Jeff Wilson, and then UDFA wide receiver Steven Dunbar and seventh round pick wide receiver Richie James. Most recently we looked at the offensive line, and then the defensive line. Today, we move into the secondary, with cornerbacks Tarvarus McFadden and Emmanuel Moseley.
The most notable additions the 49ers made at cornerback included the signing of Richard Sherman in free agency and the drafting of Tarvarius Moore with a third round pick and D.J. Reed with a fifth round pick. They also decided to move Jimmie Ward from safety back to cornerback throughout the offseason workout program. Ward could end up being the first defensive back off the bench, but for now he is focusing on cornerback.
Ahkello Witherspoon emerged as a starter in his rookie season, and the team extended K’Waun Williams after he emerged as their nickel back. McFadden (6’2, 204 lbs) seems more likely to push for a job on the outside, while Moseley (5’11, 184 lbs) seems more likely to be pushing for a job in the nickel and dime roles.
McFadden and Moseley were both projected by NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein as potential end of the draft options. Instead, both were undrafted free agents the 49ers signed quickly after the draft wrapped.
They are talented, but the 49ers cornerback depth chart might be in better shape than we previously anticipated. Ward and Sherman missed team drills in the offseason workout program due to injuries, which gave Moore and Tyvis Powell work opposite Witherspoon. Ward has experience in both the nickel and outside roles, which could make him the team’s super sub at cornerback.
All of this is to say, McFadden and Moseley both face a sizable challenge to make the roster. My guess is one or both ends up on the practice squad, but as I mentioned in the Tyvis Powell 90-in-90, I would not be at all surprised if we saw the team trade one or two cornerbacks before final roster cuts to clear out some space. Maybe that opens up more of an opportunity for the UDFAs.