NFL dot com’s Bucky Brooks put together an All-Breakout team for 2023, and one 49er found himself on the list. In a mild surprise, Deommodore Lenoir was named as one of the cornerbacks.
Lenoir found himself as a starter in 2021 as a rookie, but made too many mistakes and the coaching staff quickly pulled the plug. Lenoir was much better during his second year, although he was inserted into the lineup under difficult circumstances.
D-Mo went from filling in at the nickel position to taking over for an injured Emmanuel Moseley. Lenoir allowed fewer touchdowns last year in 13 starts than he did as a rookie, despite seeing 45 more targets and starting double-digit games.
The third year cornerback out of Oregon will presumably start the season this year. Here’s what Brooks had to say about Lenoir:
A fifth-round pick in 2021, Lenoir emerged as a pleasant surprise in 2022. He logged 13 regular-season starts and started each of the 49ers’ three playoff games, proving his worth as a versatile inside-outside corner with impressive instincts and awareness. With new defensive coordinator Steve Wilks likely to implement more zone-based schemes that allow defensive backs to play with vision on the quarterback, this scrappy cover man could transition from surprising stopper (21.8 passer rating allowed in the playoffs, per PFF) to bona fide playmaking stud.
As the game evolves, cornerbacks are asked to become more involved in the running game. Lenoir was among the league leaders in run stops, with 16 last year.
The next step is continued ball production. If that happens, the Niners will boast a dynamic duo at cornerback.