No. 1: 49ers cornerback Deommodore Lenoir
A year ago at this time, fans were wondering if then-rookie cornerback Deommodore Lenoir could end up being another one of those Niners’ late-round draft gems. He was, after all, impressive during rookie minicamp and flashed some physical prowess despite his smaller stature during training camp and the preseason.
The fifth-round pick’s feel-good story pretty much ended there, though.
Lenoir largely fell out of favor during the regular season, appearing in 13 games but ending up a healthy scratch towards the end of 2021 and into the playoffs.
San Francisco spent considerable effort during the offseason addressing its cornerback weaknesses, signing former Kansas City Chiefs corner Charvarius Ward to a lucrative free-agent deal, re-signing Jason Verrett again and then using two draft picks on Toledo’s Samuel Womack and Penn State’s Tariq Castro-Fields in Rounds 5 and 6, respectively.
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With fellow cornerbacks like Emmanuel Moseley, Ambry Thomas, Darqueze Dennard and Dontae Johnson also in the mix, and assuming the 49ers keep no more than six corners on their 53-man roster, it’s not hard to see why Lenoir is facing an uphill battle right away.
OTAs typically aren’t fair for cornerbacks, as they’re not allowed to engage in press coverage at the line of scrimmage.
That means Lenoir will have to show some serious improvements in the other areas of his game, or it might be a one-and-done career with the Niners.