Michigan Wolverines football kicker Jake Moody became the San Francisco 49ers’ replacement for Robbie Gould, now a free agent, when the team picked him No. 99 overall in the third round Friday night. The Moody choice drew criticism from NFL media members, but the team had a need and decided to fill it with the Michigan legend.
Here’s a look around the internet at what they’re saying about Moody to San Francisco, where he’ll join seventh-round draft pick and Michigan teammate Ronnie Bell.
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Pick who will make the biggest immediate impact
Moody. Yes, [tight end Cameron] Latu ought to see a significant amount of snaps this season and could have some high-impact catches around the goal line. And [safety Ji’Ayir] Brown could end up in a starting role if there are injuries at safety.
But Moody will be scrutinized every time he tries for a point-after attempt or field goal. Heck, even his kickoffs — an issue in San Francisco the past two seasons — will get a lot of attention.
Kickers typically lead their teams in scoring. Robbie Gould did so from 2017 to 2022. That alone makes Moody the highest-impact rookie.
Moody. The NFL is rough on kickers. Roberto Aguayo, who was the last kicker to be taken on Day 2, lasted only one season. Last year’s top rookie kicker, Cade York, made 75 percent of his field goal attempts, the worst in the league among 17-game kickers.
The surprise is not only that Moody was taken so early but also that he was taken by a team that expects to be attempting high-pressure kicks late in the season in places like Seattle or Philadelphia. The 49ers knew they could count on the 40-year-old Gould in those situations. For all his Michigan heroics, Moody is an NFL unknown.
The key theme that has been going around this off-season is competition. The 49ers want players to compete at every position on their roster, even kicker. If Moody won the job at Michigan under Jim Harbaugh, expect him to win the job in San Francisco under Kyle Shanahan.
Losing Robbie Gould, the fourth-place all-time leading scorer for the 49ers (704 points), and replacing him with the second-leading scorer from Michigan is a no-brainer. Jake Moody, kicker, at pick 99, was The Guy.
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Look, let’s be honest about this one. Jake Moody is a great kicker who never missed an extra point and made 82.1 percent of his field goals during his five years at Michigan. He has the leg strength needed to be a solid pro and the 49ers needed a new kicker.
But… Moody is still a kicker. There are plenty of talented one that come out of college every year. Few get drafted, and those that do almost always go on Day 3 of the NFL Draft. In fact, Moody is the earliest kicker selected since Roberto Aguayo — a notorious bust — was taken by the Buccaneers in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft.
Those two are now the only kickers selected in the first three rounds since Mike Nugent was taken 47th overall in 2005.
Moody well could be a good pro, but kickers have a high bust rate. If the 49ers really wanted him, they could have waited to take him until Day 3, or just settled on another kicker.
Moody is a talented player, but the selection seemed to happen too early for the position, even with the 49ers’ current roster situation.
The pick becomes even more emphasized when talented edge rushers, offensive linemen, and cornerbacks were all on the board, where San Francisco could’ve benefitted from more depth.
Additionally, the 49ers could’ve looked to trade down into the fourth round if they were deadset on Moody, recouping value where they don’t have selections, rather than reaching for a kicker at No. 99.
There is immediate pressure on Moody to succeed, who should now automatically be seen as San Francisco’s starting option in 2023, given the investment placed on the kicker, and how history is against his side.
Of the three selections, it is that of Moody that will prove the most controversial. San Francisco needed to fill the void left by veteran kicker Robbie Gould, though they had already signed Zane Gonzalez as a free agent.
The position may have been a need, and San Francisco clearly had Moody high on its draft board, but making him the highest kicker taken in the draft since Roberto Aguayo was picked 59th overall in 2016 was not necessary.
San Francisco likely could have selected Moody on day three and, now without a pick until round five, the Niners will miss out on some excellent defensive talent that could have been had with pick 99.
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