San Francisco 49ers NFL Draft Review
The 2022 NFL Draft haul for the San Francisco 49ers will ultimately be decided by how well quarterback Trey Lance, a 2021 pick, plays for the team.
The 49ers made an aggressive move to go up and get Lance with the No. 3 pick in last year’s draft. It cost them picks No. 29 and 102 in this year’s draft.
At first glance, there doesn’t seem to be an abundance of impact players coming out of this draft. The NFL picks don’t have the 49ers’ draft rated highly in either of the offensive or defensive Rookie of the Year odds.
The hope is that Drake Jackson will provide a big-play ability on defense while the 49ers added a running back and receiver with their second and third picks.
There are still questions surrounding the future of star receiver Deebo Samuel in San Francisco as well as quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. That could explain the decisions to take Danny Gray at No. 105 and Brock Purdy with the final pick of the draft.
The 49ers added three offensive linemen, three linebackers, and three defensive backs as undrafted rookie free agents.
San Francisco (+200) is a close second to the Los Angeles Rams in the Vegas NFL odds to win the NFC West Division with Arizona not far behind according to the NFL lines. The 49ers are tied for seventh in the Super Bowl odds.
Here’s a look at how the 49ers fared in the draft.
Pick 61 Drake Jackson | DL-LB, Southern California Trojans
Jackson burst onto the scene in 2019 with 11.5 tackles for loss and 5½ sacks. He had another five sacks in 2021.
Jackson was a top-100 recruit coming out of high school who seems likely to be utilized as a pass-rushing outside linebacker for the 49ers. Jackson finished 11th and 8th in tackles for USC in his last two seasons so he was not a high-volume tackler and there are some concerns about his potential playing the run at the next level.
It will be interesting to see where he plays on the San Francisco defense. He came to USC at 275 pounds but was closer to 250 during the 2021 season. If he can put the weight back on, it might make sense for him to line up at the defensive end slot across from All-Pro Nick Bosa.
— John Chapman (@JL_Chapman) May 21, 2022
According to the sportsbook, the only other player picked outside of the first round with better NFL odds to be the Defensive Rookie of the Year is linebacker Nakobe Dean of the Philadelphia Eagles.
Pick 93 Tyrion Davis-Price | RB, Louisiana State Tigers
San Francisco came up with one of the steals of the 2021 draft with the selection of Elijah Mitchell, who finished eighth in the NFL with 963 yards. The 49ers are deep at the running back position so this was a bit of a surprising pick.
Davis-Price had more rushing yards in 2021 than in his first two seasons combined at LSU. With 28 catches in three seasons with the Tigers, he wasn’t used much as a receiver.
The 211-pound Davis-Price ran the 40-yard dash in 4.48 seconds at the NFL Scouting Combine. After a slow start when he averaged only 10 carries in the first four games of the 2021 season, he had four 100-yard rushing games in a five-game span highlighted by a 287-yard effort against Florida. Those who bet online might want to keep an eye on how Davis-Price looks once the preseason rolls around to see if he will compete for immediate playing time as a rookie.
Pick 105 Danny Gray | WR, Southern Methodist Mustangs
Could the 49ers be protecting themselves if the relationship with all-everything receiver Samuel does beyond the point of no return? Danny Gray went to the NFL Scouting Combine and ran the 40-yard dash in 4.33 seconds and that certainly caught the attention of the scouts.
Gray displayed that speed during the 2021 season when he averaged 16.4 yards on 49 receptions. He might have topped the 1,000-yard mark had he not missed the last two games.
Gray has some experience returning kickoffs and punts as perhaps he will be utilized on special teams for the 49ers.
Pick 134 Spencer Burford | OL, Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners
Spencer Burford started for two seasons at guard before making three starts at right tackle and 19 at left tackle in his final two seasons.
Burford’s time of 5.19 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine likely pushed him up the draft boards.
This is the fifth year in a row that San Francisco took at least one offensive lineman in the draft.
Pick 172 Samuel Womack | CB, Toledo Rockets
Womack was pretty busy in his last three seasons with four interceptions and 38 pass breakups in the pass-happy MAC.
Womack wasn’t the most touted prospect but it was exactly the same pick where the 49ers got Deommodore Lenoir in the 2021 draft. Playing in the same division with Matthew Stafford of the Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams and Kyler Murray of the Arizona Cardinals, adding help in the secondary seems like a pretty smart move.
Pick 187 Nick Zakelj | OL, Fordham Rams
San Francisco added another offensive tackle with the 6-foot-6 Nick Zakelj.
A three-time selection to the Patriot League first team as a left tackle, Zakelj also saw time at right tackle as a true freshman.
He ran pretty well at the NFL Scouting Combine with a time of 5.13 seconds and also did 27 reps at 225 pounds in the bench press so he has a solid size and strength combination.
Pick 220 Kalia Davis | DT, Central Florida Knights
Kalia Davis had 61 tackles in 28 career games at UCF so it wasn’t his production that got his name called by the 49ers.
The 310-pound Davis was limited to five games during the 2021 season due to a knee injury. He opted out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19. However, NFL teams saw enough from him to think he can provide a pass rush from the interior. It was worth a shot to take Davis late in the sixth round.
Pick 221 Tariq Castro-Fields | CB, Penn State Nittany Lions
Coming into the 2021 college football season, Tariq Castro-Fields was being viewed as one of the cornerback prospects to keep an eye on. He struggled during the season which led to quite a drop during the draft.
At 6-foot-1 and nearly 200 pounds, Castro-Fields has the size NFL teams are looking for at cornerback. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.38 seconds at the NFL Scouting Combine.
Castro-Fields had 52 tackles, two interceptions, and eight pass breakups during the 2019 season. If he reverts back to that level, this could be a steal. There are NFL draft analysts who had Castro-Fields rated ahead of Womack.
Pick 262 Brock Purdy | QB, Iowa State Cyclones
After trading up to take Lance in the 2021 draft, quarterback wasn’t the highest priority for San Francisco.
Purdy threw for more than 12,000 yards in his four seasons at Iowa State and completed 72% of his passes as a senior so he is a productive player. If the 49ers plan on trading Garoppolo, Purdy could work his way into a reserve role.
Grading the draft
For a team without a first-round pick, the decision to use one of its selections on the second day on a running back was a curious move. The 49ers finished tied for fifth in the NFL with 48 sacks last season so seeing the top pick being used on a player brought in for pass-rushing purposes is also a move that was a bit interesting.
It’s hard to second guess too much of what John Lynch has done since becoming San Francisco’s general manager but at first glance, it didn’t look like too much immediate help was added to the roster.