San Francisco 49ers NFL Draft Grades 2022: Drake Jackson comes off the board in Round 2

What are the San Francisco 49ers' grades for their selections in the 2022 NFL Draft as they look to address their needs this offseason?

The 2022 NFL Draft has officially kicked off, and the San Francisco 49ers have made their first selection. As the seven rounds progress and the team makes all of their picks, we will provide a live draft grade and analysis for each of the 49ers’ selections. How do these new prospects fit with the roster, what kind of impact will they have on the team, and what do the team’s needs look like now that the draft is complete?

Make sure to continue to check back as the 2022 NFL Draft continues for live San Francisco 49ers draft grades and analysis.

San Francisco 49ers grades for 2022 NFL Draft

What are the 49ers‘ grades for their selections in the 2022 NFL Draft as they look to address their main needs this offseason?

Round 2, Pick 61: Drake Jackson, EDGE, USC

The San Francisco 49ers had to watch as the EDGE class took shape ahead of them at No. 61. However, they still got their man at this point of the draft in Drake Jackson. Flying under the radar, Jackson has a lot of high-end ability, including plenty of strength and bend around the edge.

Jackson has great balance and presents a near-perfect complement opposite Joey Bosa. An incredibly athletic player, Jackson can run down running backs in backside pursuit, and he uses his first step to blow by slower tackles. He truly has a well-rounded skill set to wreak havoc in today’s NFL.

Grade: B+

Round 3, Pick 93: Tyrion Davis-Price, RB, LSU

For the second year in a row, the San Francisco 49ers selected a running back in Round 3 of the NFL Draft. Last year, it was Ohio State’s Trey Sermon. This year, it’s LSU running back Tyrion Davis-Price.

This is a pretty puzzling pick from San Francisco. They just drafted two running backs last offseason. In a similarly puzzling manner, they didn’t use Sermon, but Elijah Mitchell grew into a breakout contributor at a premium value. There were bigger needs to address with talent on the board at other positions. The 49ers instead used a fairly valuable pick on a luxury they don’t need. Davis-Price is a good player. He has fast feet, a dense frame, and a physical mentality. But the thought process here doesn’t make a great deal of sense.

Grade: D

Round 3, Pick 105: Danny Gray, WR, SMU

Even if Deebo Samuel stays in San Francisco, there’s a sense that the 49ers had room to improve their receiving unit heading into Day 2. The selection of Danny Gray at 105th overall is aimed toward accomplishing that goal.

Gray can get stronger with his hands, but there’s a lot of upside with his skill set, especially in the 49ers’ offense. Gray has underrated size, with 32” arms at 6’0”, 186 pounds. He also has blazing 4.33 speed, which consistently shows up on tape. Going further, Gray can manage that speed as a route runner with sudden throttle control, and he can stretch space with his elite acceleration.

Grade: B

Round 4, Pick 134: Spencer Burford, OT, UTSA

This may seem a little high for Spencer Burford, who was largely projected in the mid-to-late Day 3 range during the 2022 NFL Draft cycle. Yet, Burford feels like a good scheme fit for the 49ers. In their wide-zone concepts, Burford has the easy mobility to navigate the trenches and make blocks in space. He has an intriguing physical profile as well. He’s only 6’4”, 304 pounds, but he has near-35” arms and impressive explosiveness out of stance. Burford can provide insurance at tackle or move inside to guard and pave open lanes for his backs.

Grade: B

Round 5, Pick 172: Sam Womack, CB, Toledo

While this name may come as a surprise to some NFL fans, Sam Womack has reportedly been attracting attention from NFL teams during the process. The result is a selection by the San Francisco 49ers in the fifth round. While he may be considered undersized, Womack has shown he can defy those limitations with excellent ball skills. He can fly to the ball, and he has the athletic ability to remain sticky in man coverage. With the intelligence to understand zone-coverage assignments, Womack can make an impact as a slot corner at the NFL level.

Grade: B

Round 6, Pick 187: Nick Zakelj, OT, Fordham

The 49ers are using multiple Day 3 picks to bolster their offensive line depth. After selecting Spencer Burford earlier, they’ve come back to take Nick Zakelj, offensive lineman out of Fordham. Zakelj looked outmatched at times at the Senior Bowl, and that experience put the spotlight on some of his flaws.

He doesn’t have elite length, and he sometimes lacks synergy between his upper and lower body. Zakelj also plays a little tall at times, but he’s shown he can bend his knees. And with his athleticism and aggressiveness, he can get out in space and finish plays. Like Burford, Zaklej could feasibly move inside for San Francisco. He’s a good value add this late.

Grade: B+

Round 6, Pick 220: Kalia Davis, DT, UCF

After grabbing USC pass rusher Drake Jackson earlier in the 2022 NFL Draft, the San Francisco 49ers added some depth on the defensive interior. Although he hasn’t received a ton of hype in this process, Kalia Davis has a 6’1”, 302-pound frame with an impressive anchor in the run game. Meanwhile, he displays an explosive first step and has the ability to scrape across the line of scrimmage with good agility. If he can upgrade his hand usage, he could be a valuable depth piece behind Javon Kinlaw and Arik Armstead.

Grade: B+

Round 6, Pick 221: Tariq Castro-Fields, CB, Penn State

Closing out the sixth round with two picks, the 49ers stacked defensive players. They added UCF defensive tackle Kalia Davis and Penn State CB Tariq Castro-Fields. Castro-Fields is a great value pick for the 49ers. There were times in the offseason where he was viewed as more of an early Day 3 pick. He does need to improve his processing, and he doesn’t always track the ball effectively at the catch point. However, he has fast feet and flashes good technique. He’s an explosive athlete with the size to drape smaller wide receivers.

Grade: B+

Round 7, Pick 262: Brock Purdy, QB, Iowa State

Your Mr. Irrelevant of the 2022 NFL Draft is Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy. If the San Francisco 49ers’ QB situation wasn’t convoluted enough ahead of the new NFL campaign, they add another passer into the mix with the final pick of the draft. An above-average arm and a decent level of athleticism combined with decent college accuracy likely contributed to Purdy’s selection at the end over someone with higher upside like Eastern Washington’s Eric Barriere.

Grade: C

What were the 49ers’ biggest needs entering the draft?

  • G, CB, DT, WR, S

The 49ers offense prides itself on the run game, and for that to continue working at a high level, adding a guard is a must. There are also question marks at wide receiver, especially with Deebo Samuel currently unsettled.

On defense, the addition of Charvarius Ward helps, but there is still a need at cornerback. That is then exacerbated by concerns at the safety position that could be addressed. Up front, the pass rush is talented, but there are certainly concerns in the middle of the defensive line.

Cam Mellor is the Senior Director of the College Football/NFL Draft vertical for Pro Football Network. You can find his writing here. Follow him on Twitter: @CamMellor.


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