San Francisco 49ers: 5 biggest holes on the team’s roster

Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images /
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San Francisco 49ers
GREEN BAY, WI – OCTOBER 15: Jimmie Ward #20 of the San Francisco 49ers reacts to an incomplete pass intended for Davante Adams #17 of the Green Bay Packers during the first quarter at Lambeau Field on October 15, 2018 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

4. Free Safety

Competition: Jimmie Ward, Tarvarius Moore, Adrian Colbert

Which brings us to free safety. When healthy, Jimmie Ward has been a consistently solid player wherever he’s been on the field. After jostling between nickel cornerback, outside cornerback, and both safety spots, the 49ers have finally settled on free safety.

As frustrating as his health concerns remain, it’s telling that Ward is one of the few players that has survived the many coaching and front-office changes the 49ers have seen. That doesn’t make him a star, but it shows that he has talent.

If he isn’t on the field, free safety has some questions. As discussed on the last slide, sliding Jaquiski Tartt over to free safety remains an option, but 49ers brass hopes someone else can assert themselves to avoid having to shuffle around their secondary again.

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Adrian Colbert looked like a potential long-term option as a rookie in 2017 but took a huge step back last season.

2018 third-round selection Tarvarius Moore was a safety in college, but the 49ers tried to convert him to cornerback last season. That experiment is effectively over.

After Ward’s injury, Colbert received the majority of the first-team reps before allowing some big plays. Since then, Moore has received the most first-team reps.

Moore has the tools to be a game-changer at free safety, but consistency remains the question. Frankly, he has the tools to supplant Ward even if he is healthy. Given Ward’s versatility that may not be the worst option.

If Moore and Tartt can solidify the two safety spots, Ward could jump around the defense spelling players when necessary. Perhaps limiting his snaps would also allow Ward to stay healthy for a full season.