NFL Scout Reveals Why 49ers Got a Steal With Third-Round Pick

Former NFL scout Jim Nagy reveals why the San Francisco 49ers got a steal with their third-round pick.
Former NFL scout Jim Nagy reveals why the San Francisco 49ers got a steal with their third-round pick. / Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The 2020 NFL season didn't go as planned for the San Francisco 49ers. A campaign marred by injuries caused them to go 6-10 on the year, missing the playoffs for the sixth time in seven seasons. If the 49ers want to compete in the Super Bowl again next season, rookie cornerback Ambry Thomas just might help them get there.

The 49ers drafted Thomas with the No. 102 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Now, NFL scout Jim Nagy told NBC Sports that the rookie could be one of San Francisco's starters as early as next season. Nagy, who worked with the Seattle Seahawks organizations, said that Thomas was "one of the highest-rated corners on our board" last summer. That's some high praise coming from a former staff member of a divisional rival.

Nagy continued having nothing but positive things to say about the rookie cornerback, including how Thomas could wind up adding some versatility to the 49ers' defense.

"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."

Jim Nagy, NFL scout

Even though he opted out of the 2020 college football season, Thomas already showcased his talents in previous campaigns. In three seasons with the Michigan Wolverines, he recorded 54 total tackles, 4 interceptions and 5 fumble recoveries. If he can translate that kind of play to an NFL field, San Francisco would be more than thrilled with its third-round pick.

Nevertheless, it's not like Thomas has a clear-cut path to a starting job. Despite his potential, veterans Jason Verrett and Emmanuel Moseley are ahead of him on the cornerback depth chart. Moseley was the weaker of the two last season, recording a 58.3 overall ProFootballFocus grade compared to Verrett's 77.6.

Regardless, if either veteran cornerback slips, the 49ers can be assured that Thomas will be ready and waiting for his opportunity to arise.

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