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Which 49er will lead the team in interceptions and pass breakups?

Sherman led the team in 2019. Who will challenge him this year?

Arizona Cardinals v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

In 2019 Richard Sherman led the San Francisco 49ers in pass breakups with 11. Fred Warner was tied for second with Ahkello Witherspoon with nine, while Emmanuel Moseley and Jimmie Ward had eight apiece. The defense had 12 interceptions as a team, which was good enough for 17th in the NFL. When you adjust per game, the 49ers climb to seventh in interception rate. San Francisco dropped a handful of interceptions going off memory. Two pick-sixes come to mind: Tarvarius Moore in Week 1 and Warner on Halloween. Every team has a few plays where one defender thinks he has a clear shot at an interception, then his teammate comes into the picture and ruins everything.

Who will lead the team in “ball production” on defense, aka pass breakups + interceptions? The easy answer is the guy who did last year, Sherman, who also led the team in interceptions. Sherman will have competition this year, though. Moseley had nine combined pass breakups and interceptions on 70 targets. Sherman had more on fewer targets, but that’s the point. Most offenses are going to test the cornerback that isn’t going to the Hall of Fame. Before the injury, Kwon Alexander was on pace to lead the team in this category. He, Moseley, and Warner all have a shot to give Sherman a run for his money as the team leader in interceptions and pass breakups.

Jimmie Ward said he wants to generate more turnovers in 2020, and new defensive backs “Coach Toney” plans to involve Ward more around the line of scrimmage. Ward is a sneaky pick to lead the team if he can stay healthy. His running mate Jaquiski Tartt and nickel cornerback K’Waun Williams have never been the type to create turnovers. I remember both of Williams’s interceptions, and he can thank them for being in the right spot for both of them. In his defense, there are plenty of players that make a career from being in the right place at the right time. For 2020, I wouldn’t think Tartt or Williams will be in the team’s top-five.

I’m going with Moseley because teams will test him, and with a full season of starting—assuming he does—E-Man will be able to rack up pass breakups from being in position. Who is your answer?


Which 49er will lead the team in INTs + PBUs

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