49ers: 3 players from 2021 NFL Draft who aren’t locks to make roster
By Peter Panacy
No. 1: 49ers Cornerback Deommodore Lenoir
The Niners needed cornerbacks in this year’s NFL Draft, which is why they selected two: Ambry Thomas and Oregon‘s Deommodore Lenoir, the latter selected in Round 5 at No. 172 overall.
It’s necessary to develop backups behind two of the starters, Jason Verrett and K’Waun Williams, who both have injury histories and will be free agents in 2022. And while Lenoir has his upsides, particularly being a feisty and “in your face” kind of defensive back, the negative attributes are a bit of a concern.
More from Niner Noise
- 49ers 2023 NFL Draft tracker: Pick-by-pick news and analysis
- Predicting 49ers NFL Draft picks by looking at final mocks
- DraftKings NFL Draft Promo – Win $150 Guaranteed on Any $5 Bet
- 2023 NFL Draft: EDGE Byron Young could be impact player for 49ers
- 5 low-key NFL Draft options for 49ers who are flying under the radar
Related Story: 3 things to expect from Deommodore Lenoir in 2021
At 5-foot-10 and 199 pounds, one might think Lenoir would be tabbed as a backup to Williams. But Lenoir generally lacked the quick-twitch reaction skills to cover bigger areas over the slot. On the outside, it’s possible for bigger-bodied wide receivers to overpower him, and Lenoir’s reaction speed isn’t quite where it needs to be to make up any lost distance.
San Francisco might be a lot more patient with Thomas, its third-round pick, especially due to the fact he opted out of his 2020 campaign at Michigan.
The same can’t exactly be said of Lenoir, however. And while the competition for reserve duties behind players like Verrett and Williams isn’t quite as deep as the positions the other two rookies on this list face, it’s not hard to grasp the notion Lenoir could find himself in more of a long-term developmental role.
Potentially on the practice squad in year one. Not the regular-season roster.