Shop: 2024 49ers Training Camp Headwear →
Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports


49ers Top 20 for ‘20: #17 Dre Greenlaw

Gilbert Brink
Feb 14, 2020 at 7:03 AM


Videos are auto-populated by an affiliate. This site has no control over the videos that appear above.
This series will be a rundown of the top 20 players for the 49ers' 2020 season. Each player will be analyzed from his 2019 performance, to the cost of the player and what his future with the 49ers looks like.

Dre Greenlaw is everything you could ask for in a 5th round pick. In training camp, there were whispers of how impressive this young LB out of Arkansas was playing. Whispers turned into verified statements, and before you knew it the 49ers no longer needed expensive LB Malcolm Smith, as Dre Greenlaw's emergence gave the 49ers the opportunity to move onto a younger, cheaper and better LB. As well as Greenlaw played in training camp and the pre-season, the 49ers were set at LB with defensive captain Fred Warner and coveted free-agent Kwon Alexander as the solidified starters. The 49ers generally play out of the nickel package, meaning they have 5 defensive backs, 4 defensive linemen and two linebackers on the field the majority of the time. This left little room for Greenlaw to make an impact, until Kwon Alexander went down with a regular season-ending injury on Halloween night vs. Arizona.

The following week Greenlaw stepped in vs. Seattle and made the 49ers front-office look brilliant with its 5th-round investment. Greenlaw was responsible for some iconic plays during the 2019 season, none larger than the dramatic goal line stop that sealed the Week 17 win vs. Seattle on Sunday Night Football. His tackle on TE Jacob Hollister gave the 49ers the win, the division and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Without that tackle the 49ers may not have made it to the Super Bowl, as the road to Miami would have been much rougher being the fifth seed.

2019 Performance


Greenlaw started 8 games during the regular season and recorded 92 tackles, 1 sack, 1 interception and 2 tackles for a loss. During the playoffs, Greenlaw registered 14 tackles, 1 forced fumble and 1 tackle for a loss in 3 games. In his limited time starting it was evident that Greenlaw, only 22 years old, was a starting caliber player. PFF graded Greenlaw out at 63.9. In comparison to other LBs drafted in 2019, Greenlaw graded higher than both first-round picks Steelers Devin Bush (62.9) & Bucs Devin White (50.9). While his stats were respectable, the big plays he made defined him as a clutch defender. In his two games vs. Seattle, Greenlaw came up big with huge plays in the red zone. In their first contest Greenlaw intercepted Seattle QB Russel Wilson on the 5-yard line in OT and returned the ball back to mid-field. In their second contest, he made a play that will live forever in 49ers history; "clinch by an inch".

2020 Cost


Greenlaw will make $585,000 in 2020. No need to dive deep into this one, he is an absolute steal for that price. Having young players with this amount of talent on rookie contracts is how you stay competitive for a long time in this leage.

Future Outlook


The future is very bright for Greenlaw. He is under contract through 2022, and if he continues to perform at the level he did in 2019, the 49ers would be foolish not to attempt to extend him when that time comes. As much as people may not like to hear it, Greenlaw's emergence does allow the 49ers to question whether or not LB Kwon Alexander is expendable. While Kwon may be an emotional leader of the defense, and his speed and ability to cover ground is unquestioned, overall Greenlaw graded out slightly higher than Alexander by PFF (Greenlaw 63.9 > Alexander 61.9). It may not happen in 2020, but I wouldn't be surprised if the 49ers look at Greenlaw as a much cheaper player who is capable of a very similar level of production. This could ultimately lead to Greenalw ascending Alexander and setting up the 49ers with a long run of Warner and Greenlaw as the two LBs leading this defense through the 2020s.



Next: No. 16 Raheem Mostert
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


0 Comments

  • No Comments


More San Francisco 49ers News



Johnny Holland confident 49ers' Dre Greenlaw will make a strong comeback

By David Bonilla
May 22

Dre Greenlaw suffered a devastating injury during February's Super Bowl loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, tearing his Achilles and missing half the game. The San Francisco 49ers linebacker has been on the challenging road to recovery since then. Greenlaw's progress appears promising. He attended the Dwight Clark Legacy Series event last week without a protective boot and seemed to be moving well as he walked on stage to accept the prestigious Dwight Clark Award. "It's a long, long, slow process," Greenlaw told the audience at the California Theatre in San Jose. "I'm feeling really, really good, though. I'm happy to be able to walk on the stage, actually." While



Two 49ers land in top 10 of PFF's wide receiver ranking

By David Bonilla
May 24

The San Francisco 49ers' wide receiver situation remains unresolved as Brandon Aiyuk, the team's leading receiver last season, did not join organized team activities (OTAs) this week as he seeks a contract extension. This was expected, given the voluntary nature of the current phase of the offseason. Despite contract uncertainty, the top of the 49ers' wide receiver depth chart is not expected to change for the upcoming season. The starters will be Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel, with a healthy dose of Jauan Jennings and rookie Ricky Pearsall sprinkled in. This group is expected to pose a formidable challenge for opposing defenses, with Aiyuk and Samuel considered one of the top duos in the NFL. Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus recently



49ers' five most difficult games in 2024

By Marc Adams
May 19

Which 2024 game will be the most difficult for the San Francisco 49ers? There are a few to choose from. The NFL schedule-makers did the 49ers no favors. They will travel more air miles than most teams and have the worst rest disadvantage in the league at -21. That means they have multiple games in which the other team is coming off a bye or a mini-bye. Even when the 49ers seem to have an advantage because they're coming off a mini-bye, their next game is against a team returning from their bye week. The Baltimore Ravens, on the other hand, have the best rest advantage in the league (+16). Last week I highlighted the 49ers' top five non-divisional games. Those are the most important



49ers and WR Brandon Aiyuk reportedly not close on a new contract

By Marc Adams
May 19

The San Francisco 49ers need wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk. And Aiyuk needs the 49ers. But the two sides are reportedly not close on a new deal that would keep the star receiver in San Francisco for years to come. Sunday morning, on SportsCenter, ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reported that the 49ers and Aiyuk are not close in contract negotiations, leading many to wonder if Aiyuk will hold out (not show up) or hold in (show up but not participate) for the remainder of the offseason and even training camp. "This one's tricky because he was implicated in some trade talks around the draft," Fowler said. "He wants a new contract; has one year left. I'm told the 49ers certainly are open to doing a deal, but talks have not progressed enough where things are close. And


Latest

More by Gilbert Brink

More Articles

Share 49ersWebzone