With Aldon Smith being gone and in rehab for at least a month, the task of filling in and being the pass rushing defensive end/outside linebacker would become a necessary void to fill by one of the defensive players on the San Francisco 49ers. In the 49ers Week 4 win over the St. Louis Rams last Thursday, a player who stepped up to fill the void left behind by Aldon Smith was rookie Corey Lemonier.
Lemonier stepped up and had a very good game as he recorded three solo tackles. While he did not record a sack, he was credited with a pass deflection and a quarterback hit. In addition, Lemonier helped to put pressure on Sam Bradford and the Rams offensive line on several other occasions during the game. Lemonier’s performance against the Rams showed that he is ready to take on a larger role on defense in the absence of Aldon Smith.
Drafted with the 88th overall pick in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft, Lemonier was drafted with the idea that he could be a complement to Aldon Smith on the other side of Smith on obvious throwing situations on third downs or if needed, give Smith a breather during games. Four games into his career, Lemonier now finds himself in a position where he is being asked to step up and assume a bigger role than what was anticipated he would fulfill when he was drafted.
Along with Dan Skuta and Michael Wilhoite, Lemonier was asked to step up and contribute at the linebacker position in the game against the Rams in the absence of Aldon Smith. Lemonier showed and proved that he was capable of stepping up and being a productive pass rusher for the 49ers defense. With the Houston Texans coming up on Sunday, Lemonier has earned the right to continue to see increased playing time. With Matt Schaub at quarterback, he should have a chance to have an impact rushing at the quarterback.