Renardo Green

How 49ers rookie CB Green has impressed Sorensen in secondary

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Every coach loves it when their rookies hit the ground running.

For first-year 49ers defensive coordinator Nick Sorenson, that’s his reality with cornerback Renardo Green.

Sorenson discussed the Florida State product’s recent shine in San Francisco’s secondary with reporters on Wednesday.

“I've been really happy with Renardo,” Sorenson said. “The cool thing is he’s been doing both nickel and corner and it's not a lot of time, right? It's a certain amount of practices and [he] hasn't fully been a nickel. So, he's really embraced the challenge of it. That's the best part. 

“It's never perfect because now all of a sudden we're teaching you all these different coverages, but there's also run fits too, and then that changes. And guess what? You can't fully trigger and feel the physicality of the line because there are rules and those guys aren't playing the same. But just with him, it's just the mentality and the competitiveness that I love.”

The 49ers liked Green’s versatility out of the draft. 

His ability to excel against some of college football’s best -- including LSU’s two top-10 2024 NFL Draft picks in Jayden Daniels (Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback) and Malik Nabers (wide receiver) -- in press coverage while being more than comfortable at nickel and safety enticed general manager John Lynch at pick No. 64.

San Francisco also was short in the secondary in the 2023 NFL season, as Deommodore Lenoir and Isiah Oliver shared most reps at nickel with the 49ers lacking an everyday option. Green immediately helps there.

Most importantly, the 23-year-old doesn’t back down from any challenges, which helps his case to earn snaps, even on an All-Star team such as the 49ers. 

“We knew the movement skill was there and you see it in man-to-man stuff and he gets those too,” Sorenson added. “But he's embraced any challenge that's anything that's hard I think he's embraced and he's kind of attacked it and willingly been like, ‘no man, I want more of that.’ And that's really been awesome.”

Green finished his collegiate career with 148 total tackles, 22 passes defended and one clutch interception off a Daniels pass against LSU.

Sorenson, John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan surely expect to see Green flourish on the gridiron next season.

And the rookie appears to be on the right path.

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