No. 2: Safety Lorenzo Jerome
One thing everyone who has watched tape of rookie safety Lorenzo Jerome can agree on is he has natural instincts and an innate ability to track the ball.
Jerome finished his college career with 18 interceptions and 47 pass breakups at St. Francis.
Statistics from players from small schools sometimes are a bit askew, but Jerome’s standout performance at the Senior Bowl made quite an impression on scouts and draft experts.
"The 4.7 40 is going to kill him. Despite that, he’s a helluva football player. He had two interecptions in the NFLPA game. Got a late promotion to the Senior Bowl and had two interceptions and a forced fumble there. The kid competed all week at the Senior Bowl. Like I said, he’s going to get dinged for the poor 40 time. But I just think he’s a flat-out football player and is going to end up playing somewhere. He’s smart, instinctive, tough, and has great ball skills."
With the 49ers’ switch to a 4-3 defense, similar to that of the Seattle Seahawks, Jerome has similar traits and characteristics of Seattle’s Earl Thomas.
Jerome has what some perceive as his greatest weakness: his lack of size. He stands just 5-foot-11 and 185 pounds. It’s ironic, considering Thomas himself stands just 5-foot-10.
With Eric Reid having injury concerns, and Jaquiski Tartt still fairly young and inexperienced himself, Jerome has an opportunity to find playing time either in the slot corner position or at safety.
In fact, with K’Waun Williams sidelined at practice with an injury, Jerome has also gotten looks at nickel back.
Jerome also has experience returning kicks, which aides in his ability to find a home with San Francisco.