Dre Greenlaw Talks Rookie Season with 49ers: 'I'm Only Gonna Get Better'

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMay 21, 2020

San Francisco 49ers linebacker Dre Greenlaw (57) in coverage during the second half of the NFL Super Bowl 54 football game between the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020, in Miami Gardens, Fla. The Kansas City Chiefs won 31-20. (AP Photo/Steve Luciano)
Steve Luciano/Associated Press

After exceeding expectations as a rookie last season, San Francisco 49ers linebacker Dre Greenlaw believes he is set to take a step forward in 2020.

According to Chris Biderman of the Sacramento Bee, Greenlaw said: "It definitely gave me a big confidence booster. And it also just helped me to know that I'm able to not only play in the NFL but it also gave me a boost for seasons to come and I'm excited just to continue to grow and build off my first year. I feel like I'm only gonna get better from here on out."

Greenlaw was a fifth-round draft pick out of Arkansas last year, and he went on to register 92 tackles, one sack and one interception in 16 games, including 11 starts.

While Greenlaw was poised to have a role in the Niners defense no matter what last season after a strong training camp and preseason, Kwon Alexander missing half the season with an injury cemented his starting role.

Greenlaw continued to start even after Alexander returned for the playoffs, which included a start in San Francisco's Super Bowl loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Greenlaw added: "I don't look into what people's expectations are for me. I look into the expectations for myself. As long as I go out there and I'm having fun and flying around, I know I'm going to be able to make plays and be able to have fun with my teammates and celebrate with them."

A dominant defense played a significant role in carrying the Niners to the Super Bowl last season, and they are set to return nearly all of their starters. That includes the linebacker corps of Greenlaw, Alexander and Fred Warner.

The biggest loss came on the defensive line with DeForest Buckner, who was traded to the Indianapolis Colts for a first-round pick. San Francisco did well to replace him in the draft, though, selecting South Carolina defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw to play alongside Nick Bosa, Arik Armstead and Solomon Thomas.

Greenlaw was an unsung hero on a defense stacked with star power last season, and he may be positioned to become a star in his own right in 2020.