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49ers pick Florida State CB Green No. 64 overall to help secondary

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SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers already have their starting cornerbacks to open the 2024 NFL season.

And after using the free-agent signing period to bolster the team’s depth in the defensive backfield, 49ers general manager John Lynch used the team’s second-round draft pick in an attempt to further strengthen their cornerback position.

The 49ers on Friday selected Renardo Green of Florida State with the No. 64 overall pick in the second round of the 2024 NFL Draft.

The 49ers originally held the No. 63 overall pick, but they traded back one spot with the Chiefs. San Francisco also gave up the No. 211 pick (sixth round) and received the 64th and No. 173 (fifth round) in return from Kansas City.

Green (6-foot, 186 pounds) saw action at safety in his college career but moved back to cornerback and started 25 games over his final two seasons. He led the ACC with 14 passes broken up last season. Green allowed just one catch of 20 yards or more on the season.

Green has experience playing nickel back, and he told the Bay Area media on Thursday that he can play all three defensive back spots. Green, the 10th cornerback selected in the draft, could be an option to play at nickel, where the 49ers have a glaring need.

The 49ers struggled mightily last season with their nickel defense alignment.

First, Isaiah Oliver was benched midway through the season. Lenoir began playing nickel back in passing situations with Ambry Thomas entering to play cornerback. After Thomas was repeatedly exploited in coverage, the 49ers opted to keep Lenoir on the outside and moved veteran Logan Ryan to nickel back for the Super Bowl. Ryan announced his retirement earlier this month.

Thomas, Darrell Luter and Sam Womack remain on the 49ers’ roster and will face more competition to win spots on the team’s 53-man roster this season.

Green could also find a way onto the field as a rookie on special teams due to his intensity and aggressiveness. 

The 49ers have time to groom Green for a possible role as a starting cornerback a year from now.

Charvarius Ward and Deommodore Lenoir appear set as the 49ers’ starting cornerbacks. However, both have contracts that are set to expire at the end of the season.

The 49ers signed a pair of veteran unrestricted free agents cornerbacks in Isaac Yiadom and Rock Ya-Sin.

Yiadom started eight games for the New Orleans Saints last season, while Ya-Sin started 39 games in five seasons with Indianapolis, Las Vegas and Baltimore.

The 49ers still do not have an obvious answer to play nickel back in passing situations, so the team could look to add another defensive back with position flexibility later in the draft.

The 49ers made the trade after a run of players at positions of need that included tackles Blake Fisher (Notre Dame), Roger Rosengarten (Washington) and Kingsley Suamataia (BYU) and cornerback Ennis Rakestraw (Missouri).

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