Corey Lemonier to 49ers: How Does the DE/LB Fit with San Francisco?

Dylan DeSimoneCorrespondent IApril 26, 2013

Nov 13, 2010; Atlanta, GA, USA; Clemson Tigers tight end Brandon Ford (80) misses a pass while being defended by Auburn Tigers defensive back Jermaine Whitehead (9) and defensive end Corey Lemonier (55) during the second half at the Georgia Dome. Clemson defeated Auburn 26-19. Mandatory Credit: Josh D. Weiss-USA TODAY Sports
Josh D. Weiss-USA TODAY Sports

Although movement on their behalf was anticipated, the San Francisco 49ers have been awfully aggressive in this draft.

On Day 2 of the 2013 NFL draft, the 49ers moved up for a second time, acquiring their third defenseman of the draft in Corey Lemonier. The former Auburn Tiger joins San Francisco, looking to give the team another edge-rusher.

In what has been quite a haul in 2013 so far, general manager Trent Baalke has been assertive rebuilding this defensive front, having added Tank Carradine earlier on in the day.

Given his draft slot and the fact that the Niners traded up for him, there is a chance this team has plans for Lemonier in year one. Let’s explore how the Auburn product fits on this attacking 49ers defense.


How Does Lemonier Fit?

The 49ers have an outstanding linebacker corps—arguably the No. 1 unit in the entire league.

San Francisco is not going to plug Lemonier in any sort of starting role, but he will add incredible depth to this unit. Moreover, his skill set is tailored to that of a pass-rush specialist, which is what the Niners need.

After letting up an astronomical amount of points in the 2012 playoffs, the 49ers recognized the need to get better on the defensive side of the ball. Fitting to the team’s philosophy, Baalke thickened this front seven on Day 2, adding pass-rush talent.

At 6’4”, 255 pounds, Lemonier will spell the starting outside linebackers, Aldon Smith and Ahmad Brooks, keeping fresh bodies in the lineup. He also has a knack for getting after the passer, which assures there is no drop-off when a starter is regaining his breath.

For his size, he brings rare overall measurables to the game, making him a raw freak the 49ers can mold into an effective gamer.

A stocky bull shark, Lemonier will shock pro tackles with his blazing 4.5 speed, per CBS Sports. From a physical standpoint, he has first-round talent, so this could be a steal for the 49ers.

The Niners are going to give him the coaching he needs, and there is a chance he exceeds expectations as a rookie.

The 49ers brought in linebackers Darius Fleming and Cam Johnson last year with the expectation that they would back up and push for time, but together, they were a nonexistent element.

Perhaps the team realizes it did not invest high enough of a pick to get the results it desired. Bringing in Lemonier and Carradine is a huge statement, and it aligns with its Darwinist philosophy preaching competition at every position.

Moreover, a place where Lemonier has a chance to excel is in San Francisco’s nickel package.

With Aldon Smith on one side and Lemonier on the other, the 49ers are going to bring speed and power off the edge. This becomes a deadly package for the Niners, especially if they plug in Justin Smith and Carradine at the interior.

This shows the 49ers' willingness to evolve with the way their opponents are playing them. In 2012, opposing teams all but gave up trying to run, and instead went with pass-heavy attacks that dictated the Niners’ sub-packages. 

With the selection of Lemonier, it is clear the 49ers are adapting their defense for game day. 


Dylan DeSimone is the San Francisco 49ers' lead columnist for Bleacher Report. A former NFL journalist and fantasy football writer for SB Nation, Niners Nation and SB Nation Bay Area, Dylan now writes for B/R.

 To talk football with Dylan, follow him on Twitter @DeSimone80.