Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

49ers draft pick Deommodore Lenoir says he’s close with Richard Sherman

May 1, 2021 at 5:01 PM--

49ers fifth-round draft pick Deommodore Lenoir will be coming to the Bay Area with a bit of a connection to his new team, as he says he has a close relationship with former 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman.

Lenoir, who starred at Salesian High School in Los Angeles before becoming a standout cornerback at the University of Oregon, told reporters after his selection Saturday that he developed a relationship with Sherman courtesy of his coach Devon Thomas.

"He's just close friends of the family," Lenoir said. "He's just like a close friend. Him and my coach went to school together and they've just been best friends ever since. And I'm super close to my coach from my high school and we were all close together."

Lenoir said Sherman has given him some advice on how to focus on the game.

"What Richard Sherman basically told me, he's just like at the end of the day, it's just football," Lenoir said. "You've got to slow the game down and lock into your keys and you'll be able to make (plays)."

Lenoir's relationship with Sherman was news to 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan. Maybe the 49ers would have contacted Sherman for feedback before the draft had they known, but they obviously didn't need it to be confident in Lenoir.

"I didn't know he was tight with Sherm. That's good to know," Shanahan said after the draft concluded Saturday. "I'll call him now and ask him more about him. A little late, but I'm sure he'll be good."

It isn't clear yet where Lenoir will line up for the 49ers, but he'll have a chance to show what he can do at multiple spots. Some scouts feel he's best suited for a nickel role, but Shanahan thinks Lenoir is more versatile than that.

"He's not a nickel only, which means he can play outside or inside," Shanahan said. "He'll come in here and try to figure that out and learn it, but he's got the skill set to where he's got the ability to play either one."

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