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49ers linebacker Dre Greenlaw picked as a surprise rookie gem

Could the fifth-round pick out of Arkansas surprise in 2019?

Arkansas v LSU Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

When “the story” came out about San Francisco 49ers fifth-round pick Dre Greenlaw, most fans instantly gravitated towards the former Razorback. How can you not? That type of character can go a long way.

As we get closer to training camp, Greenlaw will have every opportunity to show his worth. Both of the 49ers starting linebackers are currently sidelined with an injury. Kwon Alexander will be out indefinitely after tearing his ACL back in October of 2018. Fred Warner had a clean-up procedure on his knee and will be out until training camp.

Bleacher Report predicted every teams surprise rookie, and picked Greenlaw for the 49ers:

The 49ers are relatively set at linebacker with Fred Warner and free-agent acquisition Kwon Alexander. But Warner is sitting out OTAs with soreness in his knee, and Alexander is rehabbing an ACL tear. Greenlaw has the range to play in sub-packages and serve as depth behind Warner and Alexander. If he can up his physicality and aggression and play more downhill, he has the physical traits to be capable of more.

Greenlaw has plenty of athleticism, something that was sorely lacking on the Niners defense a year ago. With the absence of Warner and Alexander, Greenlaw’s goal should be to show enough promise, so defensive coordinator Robert Saleh at the very least has the speedy rookie in a sub-package defense.

The former safety has always shown well in space. If Greenlaw is comfortable in the 49ers defense in space and can wear a couple of different hats—think everywhere from in the box to even in the slot, his versatility could go a long way in him seeing more snaps than we all expected for Greenlaw as a rookie.

It could be something as simple as effort, or something as important as being a sure-tackler. Greenlaw will have the type of exposure most fifth rounders dream of. Now it’s up to him to take full advantage of that.