The 49ers’ starting cornerbacks appear set for the start of the 2021 season with Jason Verrett and Emmanuel Moseley.
But at least one top evaluator of college football believes Ambry Thomas is fully capable of stepping in and playing at a high level early in his NFL career.
“Going back to last summer, he was one of the highest-rated corners on our board,” said long-time NFL scout Jim Nagy, the executive director of the Senior Bowl.
“He’s long. He’s got really nice feet. He is truly one of the guys I think can play outside and inside. He’s got true slot versatility. Physical guy. He’s not afraid to mix it up. He can run.”
Thomas (6-foot, 191 pounds) was a one-year starter at Michigan. He opted out of his final college season. Thomas helped his draft stock when he accepted the invitation to travel to the NFL showcase in Mobile, Ala.
“He did a nice job of knocking off the rust here during Senior Bowl week,” Nagy said on 49ers Talk. “Cornerback is a highly skilled position, and so for him to be out all fall and come down here against some of the best receivers in college football and in the draft, he really adjusted quickly.
“There wasn’t a lot of rust. Any that he had, I think he shook off that first day.”
The 49ers this offseason re-signed Verrett to a one-year, $5.5 million contract. Moseley, who originally came to the 49ers as an undrafted rookie in 2018, signed a two-year, $9.384 million extension in the spring.
Thomas will be under contract to the 49ers through the 2025 season, and should give the organization some stability at a high-impact position.
The 49ers selected Thomas in the third round at No. 102 overall. Thomas enters the NFL behind Moseley on the 49ers’ depth chart, but Nagy sees more potential.
“I scouted Emmanuel coming out of Tennessee, and at least coming out of college, Ambry is much further along and ready to play than Moseley was,” Nagy said.
“Hats off to Emmanuel, because it looks like he’s going to have a really nice NFL career, but at the same stage, I had Ambry graded significantly higher.”