The San Francisco 49ers and the rest of the league have turned the page and looking ahead to the 2022 season. One of the highlights across the league is centered around next month's draft and the ability to add young talent to fill several needs and add depth along the roster.
This week, the NFL awarded 39 compensatory picks to 16 teams, including a league-high five-total to the 49ers for their recent departures (three compensatory and two special compensatory picks).
According to NFL.com, a team losing more or better compensatory free agents than it acquires in the previous year is eligible to receive compensatory draft picks. The compensatory picks are positioned from Round 3 to Round 7 based on the value of the compensatory free agents lost. The formula that determines compensatory free agents is based on salary, playing time and postseason honors.
Additionally, the league implemented a new rule last season to reward teams that help develop minority coaches and executives with compensatory picks.
The team received a pair of third-round selections for their minority personnel receiving head coach and general manager jobs in 2021 and '22 (Former defensive coordinator Robert Saleh - New York Jets, former vice president of player personnel Martin Mayhew - Washington Commanders and former offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel - Miami Dolphins).
One of San Francisco's special third-round compensatory picks were sent to the Dolphins in part of last year's trade to move up nine spots to select Trey Lance with the third-overall pick.
Of note, the 49ers enter the draft without a first-round pick for the first time since 1996 when San Francisco traded its 1995 first-, third- and fourth-round picks and a 1996 first rounder to the Cleveland Browns for a 1995 first-round selection that went to drafting wide receiver J.J. Stokes with the 10th-overall pick.
As it stands, San Francisco has a grand total of nine selections in the 2022 NFL Draft.
General manager John Lynch highlighted at the NFL Scouting Combine how compensatory picks have altered San Francisco's approach with roster decisions.
"We like being aggressive but that's also a valuable tool that a lot of the good organizations have tried to take advantage of," Lynch said. "In order to do that, you've got to let good players go. That's not something we have loved to do, but as many guys we are paying at the top of the market, which is a good deal because we have players that deserve to be at the top of the market, but you can't keep everyone. Unfortunately, and fortunately, since we've lost good coaches… we've been the beneficiary of that – their success turning into draft picks.
"Everyone talks, 'we don't have a first-round pick,' and we're not used to that. But I think when people ask me what's the signature of this draft, it's the depth of it. So it's a good year to have it, I like that we have nine picks. I think it's a good year to exhibit patience… It sets up well for where we're at."
Here's a look at where the 49ers currently stand heading into the 2022 NFL Draft:
- 2nd Round; No. 61 Overall
- 3rd Round; No. 93 Overall
- 3rd Round; No. 105 Overall *Special Compensatory
- 4th Round; No. 134 Overall
- 5th Round; No. 172 Overall
- 6th Round; No. 187 Overall (from Den)
- 6tfh Round; No. 220 Overall *Compensatory
- 6th Round; No. 221 Overall *Compensatory
- 7th Round; No. 262 Overall *Compensatory