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49ers 2022 draft grades
San Francisco 49ers

49ers 2022 Draft Grades: Retooling to Stay in Playoff Form

  • Damian Parson
  • May 6, 2022
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49ers 2022 Draft Grades

The San Francisco 49ers entered the 2022 NFL Draft without a first-round pick after trading it away last year to select quarterback Trey Lance. Questions regarding offensive skill player Deebo Samuel and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo have been the talking points all offseason but General Manager John Lynch understands the NFC is wide open with talented players moving to the AFC. A good draft class and the development of Lance can propel this team into the playoffs for another year.

There also may be a few impact players coming from this year’s draft class. Here are my 49ers 2022 draft grades.

49ers 2022 Draft Grades:

Round 2 (No. 61 overall): Drake Jackson, EDGE, USC

San Francisco has clamored for a reliable pass rusher opposite of Nick Bosa. The trade for Dee Ford has not manufactured the intended success with Ford playing only 18 games in three seasons with the Niners. This defense is at its best when they can rush the quarterback with their front-four.

Jackson has flashed his pash rush prowess but lacks consistency. His weight has fluctuated during his time in SoCal but Jackson uses his first-step quickness, bend and long arms to win the corner. He lacks the power in his lower body to anchor against the run and as a result, he may be a sub-package rusher early in his career.

Round 3 (No. 93 overall): Tyrion Davis-Price, RB, LSU

A year after selecting two running backs, Shanahan elects to draft yet another. Davis-Price is a physical downhill battering ram with dependable speed. His patience and vision allows him to press the line of scrimmage and locate cut-back lanes, plus, Davis-Price’s thunder-esqe running style meshes well with running back Elijah Mitchell. If Trey Sermon cannot find his way to successful reps, watch out for Davis-Price to vulture those opportunities.

Round 3 (No. 105 overall): Danny Gray, WR, SMU

The Niners offense has been one of the more balanced attacks in football. The one aspect missing is a vertical field-stretching receiver to complement Samuel, Aiyuk and Kittle. Gray has 4.33 speed to threaten defenses vertically and factoring the heavy usage of play-action passing, Gray will see advantageous coverages. San Francisco can be a complete three-level offense with a designated deep threat to make safeties pay for hedging their bets closer to the line of scrimmage.

Round 4 (No. 134 overall): Spencer Burford, OL, UTSA

One area that required improvement was the offensive line. Left tackle Mike McGlinchey’s contract expires after the season. In addition, the interior offensive line needed to be upgraded after losing Laken Tomlinson to the Jets. Burford can step in immediately with his starting experience at both guard and tackle. As a result, San Francisco can place him where the biggest need lies. Burford has agile and light feet to move laterally and mirror rushers. With a wingspan that exceeds 82 inches, Burford can jab defenders and keep them out of his chest. Improving his pad-level can increase his effectiveness as a run blocker, too.

Round 5 (No. 172 overall): Samuel Womack, CB, Toledo

You can never have too many cornerbacks, just ask the Baltimore Ravens last year. Adding talent and competition for the nickel/slot role is never a negative thing. Womack is a speedy cover corner with short-area quickness and twitch. I like his ability to undercut breaking routes and make plays on the ball. However, holding up as a force defender against the run is a concern and could limit his playing time if tackling does not improve.

Round 6 (No. 187 overall): Nick Zakelj, OT, Fordham

Zakelj has the prototypical size and length of an NFL offensive tackle. He is an agile and fluid mover that fits the wide-zone scheme nicely. Zakelj can move laterally and climb to second-level defenders and while there are some bending and technical issues that need improving, sitting behind McGlinchey for a year will do him well.

Round 6 (No. 220 overall): Kalia Davis, DT, UCF

The Niners lost interior defensive lineman D.J. Jones in free agency. As a result, this left a void for a disruptive defender in the middle of their defensive line. Davis has a quick-step at the snap but he is a raw prospect with little playing experience. Davis’ body is fluid to bend and shift to win tight quarters. His contact balance to hold up against the run is a concern. A true developmental prospect that can prove worth the investment.

Round 6 (No. 221 overall): Tariq Castro-Fields, CB, Penn St.

Again, continuing to add talent to the secondary is always a good idea. At worst, it adds quality depth behind your established go-to starters. Castro-Fields has speed, length and a competitive drive to be successful. His technique is surprisingly above adequate. He can challenge throwing lanes in press and off coverage. He needs to improve remaining in phase when receivers break at the top of the route stems. He has the tools to become a quality starting perimeter cornerback.

Round 7 (No. 262 overall): Brock Purdy, QB, Iowa St.

Mr. Irrelevant himself, Purdy was selected as the final player to end the 2022 NFL Draft. Lance is penciled in as the future once he is given full reign as the unquestioned starter. Jimmy G’s eventual departure will free up space behind Lance. Backup quarterback Nate Sudfield is on an expiring contract, also. Purdy is an experienced, smart quarterback. His skillset is limited and projects best as a career backup, but those types are valuable.

While the Niners were able to grab some talented players, even later in the draft, how many of their 2022 draft picks will be immediate impact players? We will see when the season arrives.

Overall Grade: C

Written By

Damian Parson