Emmanuel Moseley has had elite mentors throughout his three seasons with the 49ers.
When the young cornerback signed with the 49ers as an undrafted free agent in 2018, All-Pro Richard Sherman, who currently is a free agent, had also just joined the team. In Moseley’s second NFL season, former first-round draft pick Jason Verrett joined San Francisco's secondary.
Each veteran cornerback has influenced the former University of Tennessee defender, helping him develop into a starting-caliber cornerback and earn a two-year contract reportedly worth over $10 million with the 49ers this week.
“He has always had all the physical tools,” Sherman told NBC Sports Bay Area on Thursday. “What separated him early on were his instincts, his football savvy and poise. He would have probably gotten a chance to start a few games his rookie year if he didn’t break his collarbone his first few NFL regular-season snaps.”
Being overlooked for his small stature motivated Moseley to work harder to prove his ability. Both Sherman and Verrett proved to be inspiring influences as well. Moseley spoke to local Bay Area media on Thursday, detailing how both veterans have impacted his path.
“Jason Verrett is very good watching film of the other guys,” Moseley said. “He’s very detailed. In college you watch film but it’s not as detailed. When you get on this level you see guys really honing in on that, watching hours and hours of film.
“You really start to see how important it is and when you see it translate to the field, it makes you want to jump on board.”
After Moseley only appeared in three special teams snaps in his rookie season due to injury, he put together two solid seasons with the 49ers. He appeared in 28 games, 17 as a starter, and recorded 98 total tackles, 77 solo, two for a loss.
Sherman, whose own free agency is "slow going," has always been impressed by the North Carolina native. The veteran did note how film study and experience has upped Moseley’s game.
“I think he has improved in his overall understanding of the games and situations,” Sherman said. “His confidence and his poise has always been outstanding. He’s a better communicator.”
Moseley gave credit to Sherman as a mentor, especially for the success the young cornerback saw in his first NFL start. On Oct. 7, 2019, Moseley was faced with the daunting task of covering Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.
Moseley held the three-time Pro Bowl wideout to two receptions on six targets for 27 yards and two carries for 15 yards. Moseley had quickly proven that the game was not too big for him.
“A lot had to do with Sherm,” Moseley said. “He did a great job of talking me up before the game. We watched film and he put me on certain keys. I was always confident going into the game. That definitely did jumpstart my career.”
While the third-year cornerback has tried to emulate his mentor, the All-Pro’s best advice might have been for Moseley to stay true to himself.
“E, just be yourself,” Moseley recalled. “Don’t try to be [me], just be yourself."