Do the San Francisco 49ers have the league’s most underrated cornerback?
The franchise splurged big on Charvarius Ward — $40,500,000 to be exact — in an attempt to upgrade a unit that surrendered 337 passing yards to the Los Angeles Rams that helped end the 49ers‘ 2021 season in the NFC title game. That night left the 49ers believing they needed to make changes at that pivotal position.
Well, Ward may be considered the splashy new addition. But there’s one more 49ers defender on a $9 million deal who is not only off to his own fast start, but has continued one rare, impressive streak that few cornerbacks can say they’ve accomplished.
What Emmanuel Moseley Has Accomplished
Before we unveil what streak Emmanuel Moseley has going for him, here’s what he’s done in the first two games of the season:
But it’s the bottom stat that’s worth the focus.
It’s not just the fact that Moseley is yet to surrender six points his side this season. He hasn’t surrendered a touchdown up his way since November 5, 2020 when he tried covering Davante Adams for that game’s first touchdown.
If you do the math, that means Moseley hasn’t allowed a touchdown as the nearest coverage defender in 21 consecutive games he’s played per Pro Football Reference. And that includes the three playoff games from last season. That also means he hasn’t surrendered a touchdown in 85 straight quarters he’s played — since that Adams touchdown was the lone score Moseley surrendered which occurred in the first quarter.
And Moseley is considered the 49ers’ No. 2 cornerback with Ward’s arrival. He’s also on a two-year, $9,384,000 deal (although his base salary is the most among 49ers cornerbacks according to Spotrac). Oh, let’s remind NFL fans that Moseley was never drafted out of the University of Tennessee in the 2018 NFL Draft — even after playing in the always stacked and rugged Southeastern Conference which included crossing paths with a South Carolina star and future 49ers receiver named Deebo Samuel.
Moseley Has Upper-Hand Over NFL’s Best
After researching the consecutive non-touchdowns stat, even some of the league’s top cornerbacks haven’t produced a consecutive streak like the one Moseley has going. Here’s a comparison:
Jaire Alexander: The Green Bay Packers All-Pro has been lauded for his ability to limit the receiving yards and take away the best WR option. But his best streak was nine straight games of not allowing six in 2020 per PFR. His streak was broken on December 6, 2020 against Philadelphia.
Jalen Ramsey: The Rams‘ All-Pro had his best streak at 13 straight games from 2019 to 2020, which included games with the Jacksonville Jaguars per PFR. This season, he’s surrendered two touchdown passes his side.
J.C. Jackson: The newest L.A. Chargers CB is the only one who’s produced a better streak of games compared to Moseley — denying touchdowns in his first 30 games with the New England Patriots until November 20, 2020 against the Seattle Seahawks. Before joining the Bolts, Jackson had a streak of nine games going until the December 26, 2021 loss to the Buffalo Bills.
Denzel Ward: The best Ward had was nine consecutive from 2019 until the regular season opener of the 2020 season. He hasn’t allowed a touchdown in two games this season with the Cleveland Browns.
Xavien Howard: The Miami Dolphins Pro Bowler was the current closest to Ward among the league’s top five cornerbacks — with 10 straight until his personal streak got broken in the thrilling 42-38 comeback win over the Baltimore Ravens.
Moseley still isn’t considered a household name in the league, but he’s turning into one of the 49ers’ best kept secrets on a loaded defense. And he’s in a division featuring some CB tormentors in Kupp, De’Andre Hopkins, Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf. And Moseley got the better end of Metcalf on this film study play in the Week 2 win:
The downside with Moseley is he’s never stayed healthy for a full season. But if he does this time around and continues to deny end zone opportunities his side, then that should qualify him for either his first Pro Bowl nod or an even fatter paycheck.