Corey Lemonier: How Will San Francisco's Newest OLB Fare in the Pros?
One of my favorite pure pass-rushers in this draft is Corey Lemonier out of Auburn University.
Lemonier is a bit undersized at 6’3”, 255 pounds, but he has long arms and is perfect as an OLB in a 3- front with his explosiveness around the corner. One of the concerns surrounding Lemonier is his dramatic drop-off in production from his sophomore year to his junior year. Most expected him to improve upon his impressive 9.5 sacks in his second year, yet his sack numbers fell to 5.5.
Corey Lemonier is not an every-down guy who can play the run with a whole lot of power at the point of attack. Though, it’s worth mentioning that for his size, he does do a good job taking on blocks and holding his ground. He also needs to improve his hand activity, which seemed to be wasted and lacked any semblance of a plan.
With his coveted tools of length and quickness, Lemonier can develop into a very productive pass-rush specialist in the NFL, but he must round off his technique and awareness. If he can do these things while keeping his competitive fire burning, there could be some Pro Bowls in his future.
Going to the 49ers should give him a ton of resources from talented players and coaches to maximize every ounce of his potential.
Lemonier will not come in right away to start, if ever, on this talented roster, but he will be able to provide nice depth alongside fellow rookie Tank Carradine and give fresh legs to a defense that played their starters far too often last year.
Hopefully Lemonier can make a solid contribution on special teams as well considering it will be difficult for him to find many reps on defense during his rookie year.
Grade the selection
I’m a big fan of Corey Lemonier and what he brings to the table. However, I’m not sure this was a position the 49ers needed to address in the third round. They still need to add some depth and youth to their defensive line or secondary and DT Brandon Williams might have been a better choice here considering need and talent level. CB Jordan Poyer is another guy who the 49ers could have considered here considering his big-play ability and exceptional ball skills.
All things considered, they did a nice job adding quality pass-rush to a team that struggled in this area down the stretch. Providing more depth should allow these guys to have fresher legs and withstand the grind of a brutally long season.
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