49ers roster: 4 rookie backups who’ll be starting by end of 2021

Trey Lance #5 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Trey Lance #5 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /
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Deommodore Lenoir, San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers cornerback Deommodore Lenoir (38) Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports /

The 49ers will look to make some transitions from incumbent starters to new faces this season, and these four backups should be starting by year’s end.

It’s inevitable for starting players on any NFL team to be ultimately phased out in favor of younger, sometimes cheaper players for the betterment of the team overall.

The San Francisco 49ers are pushing this notion through already, especially heading into 2021 and particularly in the wake of so many injuries that essentially forced the matter a year ago.

While it’s impossible to predict what injuries await the Niners this year, there’s always the possibility they play a significant role.

Yet injuries aren’t the only reasons why head coach Kyle Shanahan and Co. may alter their depth chart a bit, ultimately going with new faces in starting spots over the ones who seemingly have locked down those spots for some time.

By the year’s end, though, San Francisco’s starting lineup could see a number of changes regardless of whether or not injuries influence them.

Here are four first-year backups who’ll likely wind up being starters by Week 18.

No. 4: 49ers Cornerback Deommodore Lenoir

Fifth-round rookie cornerback Deommodore Lenoir is a player who could find himself starting this season because of injury or lackluster performance from those ahead of him on the depth chart.

Lenoir was a preseason standout, allowing just one catch over three exhibition games and even recording an interception in his first NFL-like outing against the Kansas City Chiefs. And while that won’t automatically translate over to regular-season play, it’s been refreshing to see Lenoir’s rapid ascent nonetheless.

As for why he’ll potentially start down the road?

Well, the 49ers have two injury-prone starting corners ahead of him on the roster, Jason Verrett and K’Waun Williams, and it’s surely possible Lenoir gets thrust into a starting role out of necessity.

Equally possible is Moseley, who has bounced back and forth from the Niners’ starting lineup over the last two years, isn’t quite adequate enough to retain his presumed starting job this season.

Potentially opening the door for Lenoir to become a late-season starter.