Another undrafted Tennessee football player, former Volunteers defensive back Emmanuel Moseley is becoming a star for the San Francisco 49ers.
When he played for Tennessee football, Emmanuel Moseley was a quiet role player who went about his business at cornerback. He didn’t get the shine that Cameron Sutton or Rashaan Gaulden got. But he went about his business everyday and was a reliable defender.
His reliability was so great that people forgot to slam him, or blame him, as Tennessee football was en route to its worst season in school history in 2018. Moseley was one of those guys who kept fighting that year until the end but then saw the team’s struggles hurt his NFL Draft stock. He went undrafted and then signed with the San Francisco 49ers, appearing in one game in 2018.
Fast-forward to this year. Ahkello Witherspoon and Richard Sherman were penciled in as the starting cornerbacks to begin the season, but Moseley had worked his way up to second-string. Then Witherspoon went down in Week Three, and Moseley got the nod.
With him in the game, the 49ers haven’t missed a beat, going from 3-0 to 7-0, and he has consistently gotten better each week. It finally reached its peak when he got the first interception of his career last week in a 51-13 win over the Carolina Panthers, allowed on reception for 10 yards and forced a quarterback rating of 0.0 when the ball was thrown his way.
Moseley’s pick is what has people talking about him. But Before that, he had been playing well. Like many cornerbacks, though, playing well can mean you don’t get recognized. And this was the case for Moseley.
Pro Football Focus tweeted out that the passer rating with the ball thrown Moseley’s way on the season is 28.5, an incredible stat. According to Doug Williams of NBC Bay Area, that’s good for No. 2 in the NFL among qualified cornerbacks.
When you take that into account, Witherspoon might have competition on his hands for his starting job when he returns. Moseley has been great for the 49ers, and he’s about to get at least two more starts, including this Thursday night game against the Arizona Cardinals and Kliff Kingsbury, who will give him plenty of chances to make big plays.
With his emergence, Moseley could be joining a list of undrafted Tennessee football players who are becoming regulars in the NFL. This includes the emergence of guys like AJ Johnson, Shy Tuttle and Kyle Phillips just this year.
Beyond that, Ramon Foster, Justin Coleman, Arian Foster have been famous undrafted Vols to emerge over the past decade. And Moseley is now joining the list. He’ll have a couple of more chances to secure his position over the next two weeks. But he’s certainly made the most of his opportunity so far this year.