The San Francisco 49ers made former Arkansas Razorback Dre Greenlaw the newest member of the team's linebacker corps after selecting him in Round 5 of the 2019 NFL Draft, No. 148 overall.

Turns out, Greenlaw has never been to California.

"I've never been to California," Greenlaw admitted on a conference call with Bay Area reporters shortly after being selected by San Francisco. "I've been to Oregon, but never been to California, so I am excited."

The Niners' selection process of Greenlaw was pretty interesting. He participated in the 2019 Senior Bowl and reportedly had a lot of contact with 49ers linebackers coach DeMeco Ryans, which led Greenlaw to believe the team was seriously interested. Yet San Francisco canceled a 30-minute meeting with Greenlaw, which left a sour taste in the linebacker's mouth.

"I was supposed to go down for a 30 visit with them," Greenlaw explained. "And they canceled the 30 visit, and that really hurt my heart, and I was like, I thought then that it was done, and it panned out they still wanted me. I'm blessed."

According to general manager John Lynch, cancelling the meeting with Greenlaw was all part of the elusive "smoke and mirrors" planning all too common in the days and weeks leading up to the NFL Draft.

"You guys are good, too," Lynch said when asked about cancelling Greenlaw's meeting with the Niners. "I don't know how you figure out all these visits, but you do. So, we have to kind of keep everyone guessing, and frankly we had had the exposure at the Senior Bowl. We felt good with the interview we had at Indy and felt like we had seen enough."

Good enough to grab Greenlaw in Round 5.

It's likely Greenlaw winds up providing both primary backup services to linebackers Fred Warner and Kwon Alexander heading into training camp and the preseason. Alexander, who suffered a torn ACL in 2018, is a player Greenlaw is looking forward to working with.

"Yes, I'm very familiar with Kwon Alexander," Greenlaw said. "I know he's just got there this year, and I know he's a great athlete and a great linebacker, and I'm ready to learn as much as possible I'm ready to absorb it all."
  • Peter Panacy
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    Peter Panacy has been writing about the 49ers since 2011 for outlets like Bleacher Report, Niner Noise, 49ers Webzone, and is occasionally heard as a guest on San Francisco's 95.7 FM The Game and the Niners' flagship station, KNBR 680. Feel free to follow him, or direct any inquiries to his Twitter account.