With safeties Jimmie Ward and Jaquiski Tartt sidelined by injuries, undrafted rookie Lorenzo Jerome has been impressing coaches and teammates while playing with the starting defensive unit.
When the 49ers play their first exhibition game Friday night in Kansas City against the Chiefs, Jerome figures to see plenty of action.
Jerome, according to Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee, had several big hits on running backs in Monday’s 49ers practice, and has had numerous interceptions in scrimmages since the start of summer practices. At times he seems to gamble in coverage, but he has yet to be out of position at the conclusion of a play.
“He’s an instinctual football player,” said defensive coordinator Robert Saleh. “Sometimes I look at the tape and I’m like, ‘I don’t know if you can do that, bud.’ But he always ends up in the same spot. He has a good feel, and again he’s a rookie and he’s going through and he needs all the reps and he needs to see it over and over again. He’s been doing all right.”
Jerome also has received some playing time at nickel cornerback. But it’s at safety that Jerome is most suited.
The 5-foot-10, 204-pounder from St. Francis was a first-team FCS All-American who had six interceptions his senior season, along with 59 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and 11 pass breakups.
Going into the draft he had a reputation for great instincts and ball skills, and had a fine performance in the Senior Bowl against players from larger schools.
On Monday, Jerome drew raves for a jarring hit on running back Raheem Mostert, forcing a fumble. Jerome said he’s looking forward to finally being able to hit someone not on his own team.
“Friday we play Kansas City, and hopefully I get a good shot on somebody and prove I can play for the 49ers,” he told Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group.