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Why DB coach views rookie Green as ‘upgrade' to 49ers' secondary

Why DB coach views rookie Green as ‘upgrade' to 49ers' secondary originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

SANTA CLARA — Defensive backs coach Daniel Bullocks believes 49ers rookie cornerback Renardo Green has the potential to be as versatile as Deommodore Lenoir.

The second-round pick of the 2024 NFL Draft already has been challenged by Bullocks and the coaching staff, who have given the young corner opportunities to play on the outside as well as on the inside at the nickel position.

“For [Green], it’s going to be more of a mental thing, because physically, he can do it,” Bullocks said. “He has the skill set to do it and just looking at him compared to Demo, Demo Lenoir is a physical player, violent, he can run, he has ball skills and he can cover. He has a very similar skill set to Demo. He’s a guy we are excited about.”

Green understands the task at hand and has been arriving to the facility before his position coach -- anywhere from 5:30 a.m. PT to 6 a.m. PT -- on regular basis, understanding how much work it will take on and off the field to be able to play both positions.

“[Green] is playing outside right now and nickel for us,” Bullocks said. “Nickel is one of the harder positions on our defense to play because when you’re playing inside, you have to understand the run fits. You got to listen to all the calls.

“The run fits can change, and you got to understand the front. You got to understand when you’re blitzing and not blitzing. You use different techniques than when you’re playing corner. On top of that, when you go outside you have different techniques. That’s asking a lot from a guy in his rookie year.”

It would seem like a lot to take on for a rookie, but the 23-year-old appears mature for his age after spending five seasons at Florida State. Green is the only player in the team’s 2024 rookie class that did not transfer schools during his entire college career. That factor alone impressed Bullocks.

“He’s very mature; you can tell he’s been through a lot growing up,” Bullocks said. “Very mature player. It said a lot about him staying at Florida State when with the NIL deals, guys can go somewhere else and get paid more money. But he decided to stick it out at Florida State, which says a lot about who he is as a person.”

Of course, there’s more to it Seminole loyalty for Bullocks to be won over by his new draft pick. Green jumped off the film for the 49ers scouts and coaching staff. The ACC standout racked up 101 solo tackles in his five college seasons, and in his senior season tallied 2.5 tackles for a loss and 13 pass break ups.

“He’s physical, he’s violent and he’s one of the better tacklers in the draft,” Bullocks said. “And his versatility -- we know he plays safety, a little nickel and he played outside. When you look at a guy like that, with that skillset, you always want to bring them into our defense. I think he does upgrade our defense from the secondary.”

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