There were several factors which could have led to Parys Haralson being traded to the New Orleans Saints on Monday. One of them could have been hopes to salvage something for a player who wasn't going to return beyond 2013 and unload his $1.15 million salary.
One of the biggest reasons could've been Corey Lemonier and his emergence as an OLB. The 49ers liked him so much that they traded up five spots (93rd to 88th) to draft him in the third round last April.
Throughout the preseason, Lemonier lived up to his reports on being a pass rushing specialist. He has consistently given pressure to the quarterback with eight hurries and one sack to show for it.
Initially while starting in college, he was a defensive end at Auburn and the 49ers have converted him to OLB. This is the same thing the 49ers did with their 2011 first round selection in Aldon Smith.
"[Lemonier] has been doing a nice job picking up the defense here as a transition, which is always hard for those guys to do,” Fangio said of Lemonier. “He was a defensive end in college and I think he’s done well, about as well as any guys that have been put in that position that I’ve seen.”
Donte Whitner felt Lemonier was raw initially for an OLB, but he likes the strength and athleticism he possesses. He expects contributions on the team for this upcoming season.
"He has a lot of learning to go athletically, but he can do as much as our starters do," Whitner said. "He can do everything and play special teams. With him being in the room with Fangio everyday, he'll get some playing time and be a key backup."
Head coach Jim Harbaugh reiterated Fangio's statements in saying he learned the system quickly and he has liked the process of him developing throughout training camp.
In wake of Haralson being traded, Lemonier said he isn't worried about any pressure on himself as he only wants to improve. He wants to set a standard for the loss of the seven-year veteran.
"It was originally a transition with Haralson not being here, but I'm trying to get better and better everyday," Lemonier said. "There are always guys that are great leaders and mentors for me with how they play the game. I just wnat to keep on getting better."