Player you need to know: Corey Lemonier
With the reports of Aldon Smith being arrested for driving under the influence and possession of marijuana, Niner fans may be thinking what now?
Speculation is that Aldon Smith will most not likely play this weekend against the Colts (Team suspension) and since this is his second arrest the NFL will most likely suspend Aldon for four games. So the player that the fans need to get acquainted with is rookie Corey Lemonier. Here is the draft profile on Lemonier when he came out of Auburn.
The 2010 Under Armour High School All-American Game participant, and top 10 high school defensive end recruit didn?t need much time to make an impact with the Tigers, playing in all 14 games as a true freshman and starting once (against Tennessee-Chattanooga), making 17 tackles, five for loss, two sacks ?- including three tackles, one for loss, against Oregon in the team?s BCS Championship Game victory. SEC coaches named him first-team all-conference as a sophomore, a rare feat, due to his team-leading 13.5 tackles for loss, and 9.5 sacks. As a junior, Lemonier saw a big drop off in his stats from the previous season, as he recorded just 5.5 sacks, and 5.5 tackles for loss.
Strengths: Long-limbed end with a nice motor and a strong overall build with room to grow. Plays on both sides of the formation. Stands up at times. Showcases a good first step. Also flashes agility to drop into a zone and attack ballcarriers coming into his area. Can threaten outside shoulders of average linemen, and works an impressive rip move on the outside. Has strength and long arms to separate the ball from any ballcarrier. Works hard throughout each play, chasing plays to the sideline when needed and crashing inside for a secondary rush if stopped in his initial upfield move. Works well on twists inside, closes hard and gets into passing lanes if unable to reach the quarterback. Strong arm extension to knock back and shed linemen or tight ends in the run game. Good vision through traffic and hustle to reach the ball. Frame makes him susceptible to cut blocks, but he recovers quite well, gets back into the play to make a stop with pure effort.
Weaknesses: Does not have a powerful build. Lacks great snap awareness. Looks to be stiff in the hips, and is not always flexible enough to bend the edge. Weak hands, doesn’t deliever a blow on contact with the offensive lineman. Better tackles get a push against him on drive-blocks due to that leggy build. Struggles to separate when an offensive lineman engages into his chest.
NFL Comparison: Andre Branch
Bottom Line: Lemonier is a long and projectable athlete, who already has a nice outside rip move. Was tremendously productive as a junior, but saw his play decline as a senior. While his body type is a better fit for 3-4 outside linebacker than 4-3 defensive end, his hips appear to be too stiff to make the transition. Lemonier also lacks powerful hands, and sometime struggles to turn the corner. The fact that Lemonier does not quit on plays, and has a good motor, combined with his athletic potential will likely cast him as a second or third rounder, despite some serious questions about the translating of his play to the next level.
Although he didn’t start as a true freshman, Lemonier was a valuable rusher off the bench for the Tigers National Title team in 2010. He became a starter as a sophomore in 2011 and set career-highs across the board with 47 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks. Lemonier jumped out to a quick start in 2012 as a junior with five sacks over the first four games, but he managed just a half sack over the final eight contests in an otherwise forgettable season for most of Auburn’s players.
Lemonier is able to beat tackles with his speed upfield and in pursuit, showing the vision and agility to weave through the trash. While possessing some exciting traits, he has some flaws with some stiffness in his upper body, lacking the functional strength or lateral agility to beat blockers once engaged. Although he struggles to shed blocks, even by tight ends and running backs, Lemonier shows excellent effort and the NFL is always looking for talented pass rushers with upside.
Strengths: Quick off the edge and the type of rusher than can only be contained for so long. Blend of sped and power to penetrate the pocket and pressure the quarterback. Flashes raw power at the point of attack with a sharp punch, appearing stronger than in past years. Has experience dropping in space and has been given coverage responsibilities. Never quits in his pursuit and is tough to stop, can only hope to slow him down. Ferocious hitter and looks for the knockout blow. Will line up as a stand up linebacker and rush from different angles.
Weaknesses: Still developing his run awareness and technique. Needs to improve his discipline in space and better understand his surroundings. Too often overpursues off the snap and can be overaggressive, taking himself out of plays. Inconsistent snap anticipation and needs to cut down on the offsides penalties. Will get hung up on blocks and hand use in the trenches still a work in progress. Needs to consistently finish once he gets his hands on the ballcarrier. Disappointing second half of 2012 and played down to the level of the rest of the team.
During the preseason Lemonier had 11 QB pressures in 53 pass rushes. He also played last 7 snaps versus Seattle, but those were all runs.