The rich get richer, as they say, and it’s now a downright arms race between the defenses of the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks out in the NFC West. Arguably the two very best defenses during the 2012 regular season, these units are matching each other step-for-step and growing stronger this offseason.
While the ‘Hawks have added veteran cornerback Antoine Winfield and defensive linemen Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril and Jesse Williams, the Niners have nabbed cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha along with rookies Eric Reid, Tank Carradine and Corey Lemonier. And this is not nearly listing off every intriguing piece both teams acquired, but just a few of the major ones.
Though Reid ostensibly has the most immediate path to playing time for the Niners, Lemonier could end up having a more positive impact given his edge-rushing skill and how much attention the great front-seven around him draws.
“Corey’s getting it,” inside linebacker Patrick Willis said on the final day of 49ers minicamp, via the team website. “It’s not coming as fast to him, but he’s working every day. Coach Vic (Fangio) is working with him and Coach Pete (Hanson). I know they’re going to have him ready so if he does have to step in there, he’ll be ready to go.”
The 6-3, 265-pound third-round pick earned all-SEC honors as a defensive end while his 4.6-second 40-yard dash time make him a great candidate to work in at outside linebacker on passing downs along with Aldon Smith and Ahmad Brooks.
“I’ve played with my hand down in the dirt all the time, just going straight or lateral,” Lemonier said. “Now, you drop back and read the defense. I’m picking it up fast. It’s different because I’m dropping back, but when it’s third down and I have to pass rush, that’s something I’ve been doing.”