49ers 23-Year-Old Named to ‘All Breakout Team’ by Ex-NFL Player & Scout


Getty Jahan Dotson gets tackled by Deommodore Lenoir, Fred Warner and Talanoa Hufanga on December 24, 2022.

Count former NFL defensive back and scout Bucky Brooks as one who has taken a liking to the “hyena” on the San Francisco 49ers.

Deommodore Lenoir went from late round find in 2021 to trekking up the roster — and ended his season as the best ballhawk during the playoffs. For his late season emergence, the NFL Network personality named the 23-year-old on his 2023 “All-Breakout Team” on June 2.

“A fifth-round pick in 2021, Lenoir emerged as a pleasant surprise in 2022,” Brooks began. “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.”

Brooks Makes Bold Prediction for ‘Hyena’ in Transition to New DC

Lenoir really elevated his production from a relatively quiet rookie season.

He went from 17 total tackles to raising it to 79. His solo stops jumped from 12 to 54. He went from one stop behind the line of scrimmage to snatching six ballcarriers for a loss of yards. He also got his first career sack.

But the instincts really kicked in for the “hyena” in the playoffs. He got picks in back-to-back playoff wins against the Seattle Seahawks and the following week versus the Dallas Cowboys. That growth came under DeMeco Ryans as his defensive coordinator.

Now, Ryans is off to the Houston Texans and Lenoir will soon play for his second NFL defensive coordinator in three seasons. However, Brooks believes Lenoir will only flourish even more under a new play-caller of the defense…which includes a bold prediction from Brooks.

“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,” Brooks said.

Lenoir was the only 49ers representative to make Brooks’ breakout list.

49ers Defensive Assistant Reveals Where Lenoir can Improve

Brooks is on board with believing Wilks will only unlock Lenoir even further — especially with the scheme Wilks is anticipated to run and the new defensive coordinator having his strongest background with defensive backs.

Meanwhile, one other 49ers assistant who works with Lenoir revealed to reporters the first area the third-year defender can improve on moving forward.

“Just being consistent,” Bullocks told Bay Area reporters Thursday (h/t NBC Sports Bay Area). “He finished off strong last year. We definitely know he had the two picks in the playoff game, but this offseason, he’s having a great offseason. But my biggest thing with him is just being consistent day-in, day-out, getting better every single day and competing against himself.”

Lenoir is walking into a highly competitive defensive back room featuring its share of Pro Bowl talent, Pro Bowl caliber players and newcomers expected to be impact players right away.

With Emmanuel Moseley off to the Detroit Lions, Lenoir has an even stronger chance to solidify himself as CB2 opposite of Charvarius Ward, who instantly became impactful for the 49ers as a 2022 free agent signing. Lenoir’s fellow fifth-round selection Talanoa Hufanga became a Pro Bowl selection at one of the safety spots while 2014 Pro Bowler Tashaun Gipson helps top off the safety room. Now, Lenoir will be joined by intriguing rookie safety Ji’Ayir Brown and key free agent pickup Isaiah Oliver.

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