The San Francisco 49ers 2022 draftees aren't rookies anymore. It's been nearly a year since the 2022 draft class was selected, and in just a few days time, the team will be welcoming in new talent to San Francisco's ranks. Eight of the 49ers draft picks spent the season with the red and gold, and several players from last year's draft went on to make big-time contributions throughout the 49ers NFC playoff run.
Before we turn the page on this first chapter of their pro careers, let's take one final look at the statistics from their rookie season in this latest installment of By The Numbers.
After being selected 61st overall in the second round, defensive lineman Drake Jackson went on to make 15 appearances for the 49ers over the course of the 2022 campaign. He amassed 14 total tackles, 3.0 sacks, six quarterback hits, an interception and eight pass deflections in Year 1, and the team's brass is looking to Jackson to take on an even larger role on the defensive line this season.
"He's shown us that he's got a really cool instinct and feel to his game," general manager John Lynch said at the NFL Scouting Combine. "He's just has, you got to play with power in our league. He needs to get a little bit stronger and that takes a real offseason."
Tyrion Davis-Price was a late third-round pick out of LSU that made his biggest impact for the 49ers in the later portion of the regular season. The running back made a total of six appearances for San Francisco and finished the regular season with 34 carries for 99 yards. Davis-Price also helped bolster special teams, racking up a total of 23 snaps with that unit.
Danny Gray was the 49ers second third-round selection of the 2022 NFL Draft, and he was brought in to add top-flight speed to San Francisco's arsenal of wideouts. The receiver clocked a 4.33-second 40-yard dash at the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine, tying for the seventh-fastest player among all prospects at the event. During his rookie year, Gray made 13 regular season appearances, finishing with a catch for 10 yards, as well as taking 35 snaps on special teams on the way to the NFC Championship Game.
The rookie offensive lineman made an immediate impact for San Francisco. Spencer Burford started all but one regular season game at right guard and all three of the 49ers postseason contests. His role at right guard was split with Daniel Brunskill, and the setup proved to be a successful one, with the duo combining to allow just four sacks for the entirety of the 2022 campaign. Burford was part of a completely new interior on the 49ers offensive line that the team is carrying over straight into next season.
"He's a really talented young man," Lynch said during his pre-draft press conference when asked about competition for starting jobs on the offensive line. "I think it's only going to get better."
Samuel Womack III was San Francisco's only pick of the fifth round and adding depth at the cornerback position proved to be an important move for the 49ers after a season-ending injury to Emmanuel Moseley in Week 5. The rookie corner saw action in sixteen regular season games and all three playoff contests in 2022, adding depth to the secondary and taking on an even larger role on special teams. Womack III racked up a total of 257 special teams snaps and made notable plays as part of the 49ers punt return crew. On defense, he racked up 19 total tackles, an interception, two passes defended, a forced fumble and fumble recovery.
Nick Zakelj was the 187th-overall pick, taken in the sixth round. The rookie offensive lineman made five appearances in 2022, contributing his talents to both the offense and special teams. While he took on a smaller role last season, his offseason training bodes well for increased production in 2023.
"He is a guy, when we speak of him, we talk about five-position flex," Lynch said. "Nick has that in him. Nick, just talking to our strength coaches, he's a guy really having a great offseason. He's just been here the entire time, making a lot of progress in terms of his strength and his explosion. He has the right type of mindset, and he's a really good talent. I'm excited about his future."
Kalia Davis was also selected in the sixth round at 220th overall. The rookie defensive lineman spent most of the year on the Reserve/Non-Football Injury list last season and did not see his practice window open until late December. Despite rejoining the team on the practice squad, the rookie D-lineman was not active for any games in 2022. While injury derailed his first year in the pros, the 49ers brass is excited to see Davis compete for a spot in the defensive line rotation in the upcoming season.
"Kalia Davis, our team is counting on him, and a lot of people don't even know who he is," Lynch said at NFL Scouting Combine regarding defensive tackle depth. "We put him at a sixth round draft pick because we really liked his traits. He came back late in the year and practiced. We believe he can help us, but he's got to go show that he can."
Brock Purdy changed the perception of Mr. Irrelevant with his play from 2022. After being selected 262nd overall, the rookie quarterback went on to start eight games for the 49ers, broke multiple league and franchise records for his tremendous QB play and finished as the runner-up for AP Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Purdy stepped in for an injured Jimmy Garoppolo in Week 13 of the regular season and led San Francisco's offense through their NFC Championship Game run. He completed 114-of-170 pass attempts for 1,374 yards and 13 touchdowns through the air and added 22 carries for 13 yards and a touchdown on the ground in the regular season. During the playoffs, Purdy connected on 41-of-63 pass attempts for 569 yards and three touchdowns. He also carried the ball seven times for 24 yards and a touchdown.
After suffering a season-ending UCL injury in the conference championship, Purdy has undergone a repair surgery and is making good progress through his rehab and physical therapy.
"He's attacking each day. He's focused on each day," Lynch commented. "Dr. Meister said that an inflection point will be 12 weeks because that's when he's supposed to start throwing, but right now, he's focused on maxing each day."