Usually, when the media is talking about NFL Draft fits and the San Francisco 49ers, it’s a safety at the end of the first round, or a wide receiver. Pro Football Focus had an exercise where they went through each NFL team and found the best team fits. This wasn’t limited to players that are being mentioned in the first round. For the 49ers, PFF linked them to Iowa’s safety Geno Stone:
You’re not going to find anyone higher on the safety out of Iowa than PFF’s Mike Renner. Outside of calling him the most underrated prospect in the entire draft, Stone comes in as the fifth-highest safety on the PFF Big Board and the 52nd ranked prospect overall. He’s known for his instincts in zone coverage, having shown the ability to process plays and make breaks on the ball that you want to see from a playmaker on the back end. His grading profile is impressive as well. Stone picked up overall grades of 88.4 in 2018 and 83.4 last season on 500 or more defensive snaps both seasons.
With limited cap space and draft capital, the 49ers are going to be looking for players such as Stone — guys who can be had for cheap and can potentially pay off in a big way. They pick in Round 1 but not again until Round 5. If Jimmie Ward leaves in free agency, Stone is someone the 49ers could target late in the draft to potentially fill that role and provide playmaking from the free safety position. There are not going to be many other borderline top-50 talents in the class going that late.
Stone would be a player the 49ers take if they were to trade back and acquire a third or fourth-round pick. Stone tested slightly below average across the board. At 5-foot-10, 207 pounds, Stone ran a 4.62 40-yard dash and jumped a 9’7” broad jump and a 33.5” vertical jump. The guys at PFF have been all over Stone all season, though. Stone is one of those players that has athletic limitations, but he understands the game and has the recognition that allows him to play faster than he timed.
Sports Info Solutions rookie handbook isn’t as high on Stone. They have him as their No. 15 overall safety:
Stone projects as a backup FSS who can interchangeably play SS as well and even drop into the slot as a CB if needed due to his transition ability and quickness. On third downs, he fits best on the back end where he can use his range and instincts in the passing game. His play speed and toughness suggest he could play on most special team units. Stone has the range, instincts, and communication ability to make a contribution at the next level, but his lack of discipline, physicality, and inefficient tackling ability suggests he will likely have to be a backup.
That’s more in line with what I saw. You see flashes of good from Stone, but he doesn’t seem like a player you’d invest in to be a long-term starter. Stone has better instincts than Tarvarius Moore, but that’s about the only trait Stone has on him.
The more options that are thrown around, the more it makes sense for the 49ers to move forward with Moore as a starter in the event Jimmie Ward walks in free agency. You don’t have to worry about if signing an outside player is a fit both on the field and in the locker room. You also don’t have to allocate any more salary cap. For now, Ward and Moore are the 49ers’ best options at safety.