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Lemonier Embraces Position Change

Posted Jun 14, 2013

Third-round draft pick Corey Lemonier is taking the transition to outside linebacker one day at a time.

Vic Fangio's defense has presented plenty of new concepts for rookie linebacker Corey Lemonier.

Used to putting his hand in the dirt, the 49ers third-round pick is learning how to take pass drops, make pre-snap reads and be able to adjust on the fly. Making the transition from defensive end to outside linebacker has been difficult, but Lemonier has embraced his new role.

"It's been challenging, but it's something I've been doing and I keep getting better and better every day," Lemonier told 49ers.com. "I just come out here and keep working."

Fortunately for Lemonier, several of his teammates have made the same transition from college to the NFL. Aldon Smith was a defensive end at Missouri and has since notched 33.5 sacks in his two seasons with the 49ers. Likewise, Ahmad Brooks, Parys Haralson and Cam Johnson all were rarely asked to defend the pass before becoming 49ers.

The biggest challenge for Lemonier thus far has been making his pre-snap adjustments.

"I've played with my hand down in the dirt all the time, just going straight or lateral," Lemonier said. "Now, you drop back and read the defense. I'm picking it up fast. It's different because I'm dropping back, but when it's third down and I have to pass rush, that's something I've been doing."

Patrick Willis has noticed the former Auburn Tiger's hard work throughout Organized Team Activities and minicamp and has taken note of his progression.

"Corey's getting it," Willis told the media on the final day of minicamp. "It's not coming as fast to him, but he's working every day. Coach Vic (Fangio) is working with him and Coach Pete (Hanson). I know they're going to have him ready so if he does have to step in there, he'll be ready to go."

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