49ers

Lenoir has impressive 49ers debut, continues to look like steal

49ers
Deommodore Lenoir

The 49ers' defense didn't look like the dominant unit we expected to see in San Francisco's Week 1 win. The 49ers gave up 430 yards, including 338 yards through the air, in a 41-33 win over the Detroit Lions on Sunday.

Cornerback Jason Verrett also was helped off the field late, and head coach Kyle Shanahan fears the corner tore his ACL. The 49ers' secondary was already thin with Emmanuel Moseley inactive for Week 1. But there was one lone bright spot in a secondary that will need to find some answers heading into Week 2.

Deommodore Lenoir.

The rookie fifth-round draft pick out of Oregon played all 90 snaps at the second cornerback position Sunday and fared well. Per NFL's Next Gen Stats, Lenoir was targeted just four times in 55 coverage snaps and surrendered just one catch for 3 yards.

While the 49ers hope veteran cornerback Josh Norman can contribute in Week 2 against the Philadelphia Eagles, Lenoir continues to look like an NFL draft steal and earned the right to make another start. If Moseley is able to go in Week 2, the 49ers should give Norman another week to get physically ready and allow Lenoir to be their No. 2 corner until the job proves to be too much for him.

Perhaps it never will.

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The 49ers left their season-opening win vs. the Lions with a number of things to work on and some long-term questions about their secondary with Verrett likely out for the season.

 

But if Lenoir can maintain this level of play, he can be the answer to a question that could define the 49ers' season.

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