49ers vs. Chiefs: 5 fringe players who impressed most in preseason loss

JaMycal Hasty #23 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
JaMycal Hasty #23 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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Deommodore Lenoir, San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers cornerback Deommodore Lenoir (38) is congratulated by cornerback Ambry Thomas (20) Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports /

With the 49ers’ first preseason bout of 2021 in the books, Niner Noise looks at five on-the-bubble players who impressed versus the Chiefs.

For the relatively new NFL fans out there, the preseason is less about wins and losses and more about preparing any given team for the rigors of a full regular-season schedule.

It’s also about honing a 90-man offseason roster into the best possible 53 players for the regular season, too. Needless to say, there are plenty of decisions going into how the back end of a team’s roster will pan out.

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan got his first bit of in-game evidence towards making these choices last Saturday night, which produced a 19-16 exhibition loss versus the visiting Kansas City Chiefs.

Overreacting to rookie quarterback Trey Lance and many of the first-team players is always going to be a high point.

But equally important, at least in terms of the real preseason storylines, is determining which players on the roster bubble stood out for all the right reasons. There are some who faltered, yes. Yet there are others who certainly impressed and vastly improved their roster chances.

Let’s take a look at five who fall into that category.

49ers Fringe Player No. 5: Cornerback Deommodore Lenoir

Considering the Niners’ lack of proven depth at cornerback, it’s going to be vitally important to get the two first-year rookies, Ambry Thomas and Deommodore Lenoir, up to speed as potential high-impact players sooner than later.

Lenoir saw much more of the field than Thomas, the third-round pick from this year, likely because the former needed more time on defense to hone some of the issues he had been dealing with since being selected in Round 5 last spring out of Oregon.

After admitting he felt somewhat lost earlier this offseason, Lenoir had himself quite an exhibition debut, racking up three tackles, breaking up a pass and even recording an interception off a deflection.

Granted, Lenoir was more in the right place at the right time for his pick. But positioning is vital for any defensive back, and at least Lenoir checked that box off.

And it should help build his confidence, too.

Thomas also played well. But Lenoir remains more on the bubble than his fellow rookie counterpart, and a performance like the one he had versus Kansas City should put him well on track to make the 53-man roster.