In the back half of Day 3, the NFL draft class begins to wither in talent, but there are role players to be found if you know what you’re looking for. For the San Francisco 49ers, who need to upgrade their special teams unit, this is great place to locate potential contributors.
With the No. 180 overall slot in the 2013 NFL draft, the 49ers selected linebacker Nick Moody of Florida State.
At 6’1”, 236 pounds, he has the versatility a lot of linebackers don’t have, which makes him a prime candidate for special teams duty. A big physical player that can run downfield and track returners can be a valuable commodity.
Let’s explore how Nick Moody fits in with his new team.
How Does Moody Fit In?
Eric Branch @Eric_Branch
Florida State LB Nick Moody said he hopes to carve out role on special teams in NFL. #49ers2013-4-27 20:37:06
This pick gives 49ers special teams coach Brad Seely a player that has the potential to be a premier gunner in this league. San Francisco has experienced a decline on the S/T unit, particularly since the loss of LB Blake Costanzo.
As a three-year starter for Florida State, Moody has the game experience and instinctiveness to be a factor. He also has a versatile background, having moved from safety to linebacker in the NCAA.
Moody started two years at safety for the Seminoles, which included 102 tackles and a 96-yard pick-six. As a senior, he was moved to linebacker, finishing with 20 tackles and one sack in 14 games played.
Having selected players like Aldon Smith, Bruce Miller and Chris Culliver, the 49ers’ new regime has revealed its fancy for players with position flexibility.
The Niners clearly believe he is gifted enough physically that they can find a place for him to be productive.
His Role in 2013
Coming out of high school, Moody had offers from Penn State, Georgia Tech, Michigan State and Temple before committing to FSU.
He then became a three-year starter at two different positions for a powerhouse defense. Although he is coming to the NFL as a sixth-rounder, Moody is no slouch and will work for a spot on the team.
At the NFL Combine, Moody ran a 4.71 40-yard dash and did 17 reps on the bench.
The balance from Moody is solid, but it’s his on-field ability that has the 49ers willing to give him a chance. Come training camp, the Florida State linebacker will come in and compete, practicing with the linebackers and special teams units.
With losses of Larry Grant and Tavares Gooden, the 49ers needed to replace their ILBs who doubled as special teamers.
Nick Moody should be in direct competition with Dan Skuta, Darius Fleming and Cam Johnson.
Dylan DeSimone is the San Francisco 49ers' lead columnist for Bleacher Report. A former NFL journalist and fantasy football writer for SB Nation, Niners Nation and SB Nation Bay Area, Dylan now writes for B/R.
To talk football with Dylan, follow him on Twitter @DeSimone80