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


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

Facebook Comments



More San Francisco 49ers News



Watch 49ers LB Dre Greenlaw crush Lions fans with pick-six of Jared Goff

By David Bonilla
Sep 12

There are a lot of San Francisco 49ers fans at Ford Field today. However, the majority of the stadium is still filled with Detroit Lions fans. Those fans were probably crushed to see linebacker Dre Greenlaw pick off new Lions quarterback Jared Goff and take the football into the end zone, giving the Niners a 28-10 lead before halftime. Did you start the @49ers defense in @NFLFantasy?Because they're SCORING.



49ers-Lions: Raheem Mostert ruled out with knee injury; Dre Greenlaw questionable to return

By David Bonilla
Sep 12

The San Francisco 49ers announced that running back Raheem Mostert is questionable to return to the game against the Detroit Lions due to a knee injury. The running back was in the game for the team's first two drives, including a scoring drive, but did not return for the third. The 49ers and Lions are currently tied 7-7 at Ford Field. Mostert has two carries for 20 rushing yards. Rookie Elijah Mitchell replaced Mostert at the start of the third drive. The team's other rookie running back, Trey Sermon, is healthy but inactive. Update: Raheem Mostert was downgraded and ruled out for the remainder of the game. The 49ers also announced that linebacker Dre Greenlaw, who had a pick-six off Lions quarterback Jared Goff in the



John Lynch: 49ers LB Dre Greenlaw has been 'battling through' injury for a couple of weeks

By David Bonilla
Sep 16

San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch joined KNBR's Tolbert, Krueger & Brooks show this afternoon and provided some updates on Dre Greenlaw. Earlier today, Matt Barrows of The Athletic reported that the linebacker would undergo surgery and miss a good chunk of time. The 49ers general manager confirmed the report. "So, he is going to have surgery," Lynch said. "They got a couple of opinions on the groin. It's a core muscle injury that Dre's been dealing with here for the last couple of weeks, and he did a great job kind of battling through it. [He] had a big impact on the game against Detroit. "It was actually on the pick-six [off



49ers LB Dre Greenlaw undergoing surgery, will miss time

By David Bonilla
Sep 16

San Francisco 49ers linebacker Dre Greenlaw will undergo a procedure to repair a groin injury, per Matt Barrows of The Athletic. It is not expected to end his season but the defender will obviously miss some time. While Barrows initially reported that timeline to be about four to six weeks, NFL insider Ian Rapoport reports it to be six to eight weeks. LB Dre Greenlaw is having a procedure to repair a groin injury, according to multiple sources. It is not believed to be season ending.— Matt Barrows (@mattbarrows)


Featured

More by Gilbert Brink

More Articles

Share 49ersWebzone