The moment Emmanuel Moseley went down with a torn ACL against the Carolina Panthers in Week 5, concern grew for the San Francisco 49ers that they didn’t have a suitable No. 2 cornerback outside of Charvarius Ward the rest of the way. Some fans believed the 49ers needed to turn to the November 1 trade deadline to cement the spot.
Turns out that wasn’t needed through Deommodore Lenoir.
The second-year defender and 2021 fifth rounder has not only ascended as a starter manning down the opposite CB spot, but Lenoir has managed to rank higher than not one, but three different decorated Pro Bowl defenders during his current starting streak.
Who Lenoir has Outranked
Per this stat from past 49ers contributor @Coach_Yac on Wednesday, December 7, Lenoir has done more than not surrender a touchdown his side since filling for Moseley. He’s placed ahead of three different Pro Bowl talents: Jaire Alexander of the Green Bay Packers, Xavien Howard of the Miami Dolphins and Jalen Ramsey of the Los Angeles Rams.
What this means is Lenoir has found a way to out-rank and outperform three defenders with a combined nine Pro Bowl appearances and four All-Pro nods between them. Here’s a deeper comparison to all three:
Alexander: The Packers star since Week 6 has surrendered 368 receiving yards, which is an average of 52.6 yards per game his side. He also allowed a touchdown his side against CeeDee Lamb late in the third quarter in the 31-28 win over the Dallas Cowboys. Per Pro Football Reference Advanced Stats, Alexander has allowed a total of 39 catches on 65 targets for 487 yards and two touchdowns.
Howard: The Dolphins’ No. 1 CB has allowed 34 catches on 57 targets with 513 yards, allowing an average of nine yards per target and has surrendered four touchdowns — with three coming in the first five games per PFR. Howard has given up 15 catches for 175 yards and one touchdown since Week 6.
Ramsey: The Super Bowl 56 winner has been thrown at 70 times this season…allowing 46 catches for 511 yards and five touchdowns his side. The most recent touchdown he surrendered was the final game-winner by D.K. Metcalf in Week 12. Since Week 6, receivers have racked up 283 yards on 30 catches and have scored three times facing “J Ram.”
Now we bring in Lenoir. His 2022 totals are…31 catches his side on 46 targets, 386 yards allowed and not one touchdown allowed — all better than all three of the star defenders.
Lenoir additionally put this output up against a Dolphins team that featured two 100-catch receivers in Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle: One catch for 19 yards when paired with Hill in the battle of the “Cheetah” Hill and the “Hyena.” Waddle did not draw any matchups with him. Meanwhile Alexander, Ramsey and Howard all allowed between 59 to 128 yards their side in their recent contests.
49ers Adding Veteran CB for Bucs Game
Lenoir has taken advantage of his starting opportunities. But the Niners are still adding to the CB room with Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the horizon.
Veteran Dontae Johnson was among the 49ers activated from the practice squad leading into the Sunday, December 11 showdown at Levi’s Stadium. The 31-year-old has not seen any action this season and was last inserted during the 49ers’ playoff run last season.
Running back Tevin Coleman was also activated for Sunday’s game.