The 49ers made their pass rush a point of emphasis on day two of the NFL Draft, selecting defensive end Tank Carradine and outside linebacker Corey Lemonier. The 49ers' defense struggled late in the season, and this was in part due to a front seven that had worn down. The 49ers did not have much of a rotation, and I have to think that this strategy will change in 2013.
Lemonier was surprised the 49ers drafted him, primarily because he did not meet with them at all before the draft. There were no combine meetings. There were no workouts or meetings in March or April. Nothing. That's a little bit surprising, particularly given that they used a third round pick on him. That being said, if the 49ers liked what they saw, I guess that is all that matters.
Did you have any, I guess, contact with the 49ers before the draft?
"No, not any."
You didn't meet with them at the combine or just nothing?
"No, nothing like that."
So you don't have any idea how they envision you in the defense?
"Not really. I haven't talked to them or anything like that, so this is just all new to me."
So you must be pretty surprised?
"Oh yeah, I'm really surprised. I'm pumped."
Do you have any impressions of this defense and what they've accomplished?
"It's a great defense and I'm humbled to be a part of it. So, I'm just excited to get out there."
Who called you today, just now?
"The head coach [Jim] Harbaugh."
Did it surprise you when he introduced himself?
"Yeah, I didn't know it was going to be the head coach, but I was pumped that San Francisco picked me. I don't know. I can't even talk right now, sorry."
John Harbaugh is the Ravens coach, this is Jim Harbaugh?
"Oh my goodness, I'm so sorry. I'm just really excited right now. I can't even think right now. I'm so sorry."
When you met with 3-4 teams, did most of them see you as an outside linebacker?
"Yes, they did. I worked out as a linebacker at pro day. I've been doing drops and stuff like that on my own."
Do you think that will be a tough transition for you at all?
"Not really, I don't think so. I work hard so I think by working hard it's going to happen. I think with just hard work and dedication then it's not going to be a hard transition."
Are you familiar at all with LB Aldon Smith?
Do you think that your game is similar to his?
"I don't want to say similar because it's really different But he's a great player and I feel like I'm a good player and I think I bring a different kind of talent to the field. It's going to be great."
How would you describe your talent?
"Speed, bend the corners, hustle player, just trying to make the plays that I should. So, stuff like that."
You rush the passer from both sides, or where are you most comfortable?
"From both sides."
And you seemed to have played against a lot of the top tackles in the SEC, you think that was a nice warm up for the NFL?
"I think so. I feel like the SEC is a step away from the NFL. Going against 300+ really good players in the SEC, I've just gotten so much better from that."
How did you to against T Luke Joeckel?
"We were in the scheme wise were it was bull rush, the whole D-Line was on bull rush. I graded out well, but it just didn't on film, when you see it, it looks like I'm not doing anything. But we were just containing [QB] Johnny Manziel the whole time."
How do you pronounce your last name?
"The correct way? Lemonier."