49ers roster: 4 young players who need more snaps vs. Rams

Raheem Mostert #31 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Raheem Mostert #31 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) Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /

49ers Young Player No. 1: Cornerback Deommodore Lenoir

Veteran cornerbacks Josh Norman and Dre Kirkpatrick have been bigger liabilities for the Niners defense than assets this season. Kirkpatrick was bowled over, both by the Cardinals and Indianapolis Colts in two of the last three weeks, while Norman has a total of six penalties against him for pass interference or defensive holding.

Neither is expected to be on the roster in 2022. So, with that in mind, why force them into the starting lineup?

San Francisco’s two draft investments at the position, Ambry Thomas and Deommodore Lenoir, have yielded only one promising return in the latter, who was taken in Round 5 but nevertheless flashed some immediate promise, both in the preseason and over his first two games as a starter.

Since then, though, Lenoir has been relatively quiet, relegated either to the weekly inactive list or as a back-end depth option who’d contribute solely on special teams.

Interesting, since Lenoir has allowed just eight receptions on the 16 targets he’s been forced to face this season.

Lenoir might not pan into a starting-caliber cornerback. But at least the 49ers can help determine that now instead of relying upon veterans like Norman and Kirkpatrick who won’t be with the team in 2022.

Go younger, Niners. Go younger.

Next. Grading 49ers rookie draft class halfway through 2021. dark