49ers roster: Deommodore Lenoir needs more playing time after bye week

San Francisco 49ers cornerback Deommodore Lenoir (38) congratulated by cornerback Ambry Thomas (20) Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports
San Francisco 49ers cornerback Deommodore Lenoir (38) congratulated by cornerback Ambry Thomas (20) Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports /

The 49ers roster needs to feature rookie cornerback Deommodore Lenoir a lot more. Lenoir hasn’t been perfect but has already outplayed his draft position. 

Rookie Cornerback Deommodore Lenoir needs to be moved up the San Francisco 49ers roster and plugged back in the start lineup as soon as possible.

Since joining the team as a fifth-round NFL Draft pick out of Oregon, Lenoir has done nothing but impress with his polished technique, tenacity, and confidence.

While Lenoir hasn’t been perfect, he certainly has already outplayed his draft position.

Lenoir began his time with the 49ers roster with a viral video of him intercepting the ball during rookie minicamps. However, it wasn’t just that he made an interception. It was how he dominated the wide receiver across from him:

He played physically stout throughout the 1-on-1 drill in which he stuck to his man only to peel away just at the right moment to rip the ball out of the air. The play was impressive, especially for a rookie.

Entering the season, the 49ers roster featured cornerbacks Jason Verrett and Emmanual Moseley, who were intended to be the Niners’ starters in 2021. However, Moseley got hurt with a knee injury during the preseason and then Weeks 1 and 2. Making things worse, Verrett was lost for the season during the team’s Week 1 game against the Detroit Lions with a torn ACL.

The injuries pushed Lenoir into the starting lineup, which should have been the reason for the opposing team’s picking on the inexperienced rookie. Still, Lenoir showed he was ready for the challenge by playing with poise and toughness. The rookie was pushed to play out on the boundary, which while showing promise there, his skill set is best at the nickel position, currently open and in question as San Francisco’s regular starter, K’Waun Williams, has also missed time due to injury.

49ers roster: Deommodore Lenoir simply needs more snaps

With the 49ers coming off their Week 6 bye, Lenoir should get the starter’s snaps at the nickel especially considering that Williams is not signed to a long-term deal. The Niners need to be developing Lenoir, especially since he is already showing the potential to start right now. Much like the argument rookie quarterback Trey Lance should play now so he can grow and develop with the hope that he will be a star next season, Lenoir should also be playing right now.

San Francisco needs to be focused on developing its younger players, Lenoir included.

When Williams is healthy enough to play, Lenoir could still serve as a boundary option. He can take that time to review his film to see where he needs to improve. But without the ability to build on his performances thus far, Lenoir’s development will slow mightily.

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The 49ers should name Lenoir a starter at the nickel spot for Week 7 against the Indianapolis Colts, especially if Williams isn’t at 100 percent, and allow him the opportunity to prove the organization right for drafting him. Much like other current Niners starters, Lenoir can be another fifth-round draft gem.

Lenoir has earned that right and the team should play him now and allow him to gain quality experience. It helps the team in both the short- and long-term scheme of things.

After all, Williams won’t be the starter for too much longer.

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