49ers 7-Round 2022 NFL Mock Draft: Senior Bowl standout Arnold Ebiketie heads to San Francisco

Three years ago, the San Francisco 49ers went from the Senior Bowl to the Super Bowl, and that inspires this 7-Round 2022 NFL Mock Draft.

Following their loss in the NFC Championship Game, it’s time for a San Francisco 49ers 7-Round 2022 NFL Mock Draft. However, this one comes with a twist. Three years ago, the 49ers went from Mobile to Miami, from the Senior Bowl to the Super Bowl. Taking inspiration from that, we imagine a scenario where the 49ers 2022 NFL Draft class comes solely from players that impressed at this year’s Reese’s Senior Bowl.

San Francisco 49ers 7-Round 2022 NFL Mock Draft

For the purposes of this 49ers 2022 NFL Mock Draft, we’ve allowed PFN’s free Mock Draft Simulator with trades (equipped with the latest NFL Draft order) to work its magic on the selections. They’re based on the projected needs for the 49ers in the 2022 NFL Draft, where they currently have seven picks. Let’s break down how this haul improves San Francisco’s future fortunes.

Round 2, Pick 61: Arnold Ebiketie, EDGE, Penn State

With no first-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, the 49ers’ first action in this 7-Round 2022 NFL Mock Draft comes late in Round 2. Thankfully, for San Francisco, this draft class has plenty of depth at positions of need. As a result, they should be able to find an immediate impact player at a position of need here at No. 61 overall.

With Nick Bosa leading the way, EDGE might not feel like the biggest need for the 49ers in this draft. They, after all, ranked sixth with 48 sacks this season. However, they fared substantially worse in pressures created. Furthermore, they have Arden Key, Jordan Willis, and Kentavius Street all set to hit free agency. All have made contributions this year.

Penn State’s Arnold Ebiketie continued his exceptional ascension in this class with an outstanding performance in Mobile. In the National Team practice report, Pro Football Network Draft Analyst Ian Cummings described him as “one of the most consistent edge rushers” at the all-star game.

Ebiketie is explosive, bendy, and powerful, making him an excellent companion to Bosa at the bookend of the 49ers’ defensive line.

Round 3, Pick 93: Coby Bryant, CB, Cincinnati

While EDGE might not be considered the biggest need for the 49ers, cornerback arguably is the most important position to address in April. They’re set to lose four players at the position in free agency. One of those — Josh Norman — is a prime example of how desperate they’ve been at the position this season.

In their first seasons in San Francisco, Ambry Thomas and Deommodore Lenoir have shown promise. However, in this 49ers 7-Round 2022 NFL Mock Draft, they add some star power in the form of Cincinnati’s Coby Bryant. After snagging 2 interceptions and registering 11 pass breakups this year, Bryant was named the Jim Thorpe Award Defensive Back of the Year.

After a slow start in Mobile, Bryant came alive on Day 3 of practice. Possessing an NFL build and impressive speed, the Cincinnati cornerback has the fluidity to be sticky in man coverage.

A true student of the game, Bryant also showcases football intelligence in zone coverage. That was apparent at the Senior Bowl, with the Cincinnati playmaker named the top CB on the National Team by his teammates.

Round 4, Pick 131: Cole Strange, G, Chattanooga

Addressing the interior of the offensive line is one of the most pressing matters for the 49ers this offseason. Led by Laken Tomlinson, they have several players set to hit free agency. Regardless of that issue, the unit requires improvement, with San Francisco yet to see a return on investment from some of last year’s class.

The selection of Chattanooga’s Cole Strange in this 7-Round 2022 NFL Mock Draft gives the 49ers a versatile interior offensive lineman whose stock is on the rise following the Senior Bowl. As reported by Cummings, Strange showcased a fiery demeanor, athletic ability, and strength this week. The Chattanooga guard also took reps at center, giving him valuable versatility for the San Francisco offensive line.

Round 5, Pick 171: Matt Waletzko, OT, North Dakota

Another smaller-school offensive lineman on the rise this week was North Dakota tackle Matt Waletzko. He started off slowly, easing his way into the experience. However, by the end of the week, he was dominating against even some of the best edge rushers at the 2022 Reese’s Senior Bowl.

Waletzko showcased the ability to play with power this week. Meanwhile, he also demonstrated impressive technical ability. As with the 49ers’ interior offensive line, the North Dakota standout will provide depth for a unit that could lose several players.

Round 6, Pick 187: Bo Melton, WR, Rutgers

Deebo Samuel established himself as one of the most dangerous offensive weapons this season. Additionally, Brandon Aiyuk is starting to find his footing since his selection in the 2020 NFL Draft. That said, the 49ers could look to add depth at the wide receiver position, as they do in this 7-Round 2022 NFL Mock Draft.

Coming into Mobile a little under the radar in this impressive wide receiver class, Rutgers starlet Bo Melton significantly improved his stock this week. Throughout his Scarlet Knight career, he’s showcased speed, route-running savvy, and impressive body control. Those were all on display at the Senior Bowl. Like Samuel, Melton adds an element of versatility with his speed, making him a threat out of the backfield.

Round 7, Pick 253: Akayleb Evans, CB, Missouri

It wouldn’t be a surprise to see the 49ers double-dip at cornerback again in April. There’s talent available on all three days of the draft, and the selection of Akayleb Evans here in the seventh round showcases that.

He’s a tall, long cornerback who plays the game with impressive physicality. Weighing in at over 200 pounds at the Senior Bowl is impressive for a prospect who looks slender despite the nature of his game.

Round 7, Pick 254: TJ Pledger, RB, Utah

The 49ers found some late-round gold last season with Elijah Mitchell, and they’re at it again here in this 7-Round 2022 NFL Mock Draft. Utah’s TJ Pledger was a late add to the Senior Bowl but made an impression as a pass-catching back during Thursday’s indoor practice session. The diminutive back was hidden by teammate Tavion Thomas’ shadow last year, but he actually led the Utes with 6.7 yards per carry during the 2021 CFB season.

Oliver Hodgkinson is an NFL Draft and College Football Analyst for Pro Football Network. Check out the rest of his work here, and you can find him on Twitter: @ojhodgkinson.

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