How NFL Draft Experts Graded the 49ers 2022 Draft Class

Entering the 2022 NFL Draft without a first round pick, the San Francisco 49ers managed to add depth at positions of need and bolster their already-elite units through the draft. San Francisco finished the weekend with nine-total picks and selected young talent from both sides of the ball.

Table inside Article
Round/PickPlayerSchool
Round 2: Pick 61DL Drake JacksonUSC
Round 3: Pick 93RB Tyrion Davis-PriceLSU
Round 3: Pick 105WR Danny GraySMU
Round 4: Pick 134OL Spencer BurfordUTSA
Round 5: Pick 172CB Samuel WomackToledo
Round 6: Pick 187OL Nick ZakeljFordham
Round 6: Pick 220DL Kalia DavisUCF
Round 6: Pick 221DB Tariq Castro-FieldsPenn State
Round 7: Pick 262QB Brock PurdyIowa State

"When I think about this draft, I think about explosive, dynamic, fast players," general manager John Lynch said. "I also think there's an element of toughness to each and every guy that we drafted… A bunch of contagiously competitive guys. Guys we look for that I think really fit our program well and they're going to provide for an already good roster an opportunity to get better."

So how did the 49ers brass fare addressing team needs? While it is far too early to truly assess the potential, production and fit of a draft pick, NFL pundits have made their early evaluations of San Francisco's selections and provided overall grades for the 2022 draft class. Here's how they graded out:

SportingNews.com (Round 2): A

"The 49ers needed some pass-rush versatility behind Nick Bosa and this is a good first pick from this class that aligns with the value. Jackson is a good fit in their scheme with his agility."

"Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers scouting department must have some kind of bat signal every time an athletic wide receiver catches a ball on a drag route with a head of steam and gains an unreasonably large amount of yards after the catch. Such a signal must have blinked wildly several times last year on Danny Gray. Jackson was a worthwhile swing at the edge-rusher position, which the 49ers desperately need to start replenishing if they want to run the kind of defense that brought them into Super Bowl contention in the first place. Jackson wins in a variety of ways, and given that he didn't lean on one particular mode of getting to the quarterback, he should arrive at the next level as a fertile mind for a set of good defensive coaches."

"Day 2: Drake Jackson is a phenomenal value at No. 61 overall for San Francisco. He uses his hands really well and has great bend for the position. Even though he's 6-foot-3, 273 pounds, Jackson is much more of a finesse rusher who lacks any sort of power move. If he develops some counters to his speed rushes, he can be a fantastic pass-rusher for the 49ers.

"Danny Gray's hands are awful, but everything else about him is pretty fantastic. He's a legit separator with deep speed (4.33-second 40-yard dash). San Francisco knows what they're doing when evaluating the wide receiver position. This is one of the best picks of Round 3.

"Day 3: Spencer Burford is a bit undersized at 6-foot-4 and 304 pounds, but his nearly 35-inch arms help in that regard. Burford started the first two seasons of his college career at left guard before kicking out to left tackle. His grading profile at UTSA leaves something to be desired, but Burford is coming off a career-high 76.8 PFF grade in 2021. He fills a need for the 49ers, who needed to add some depth upfront."

"The 49ers put together my All-Intriguing Class of this draft. Missing a first-rounder thanks to the trade-up for Trey Lance in 2021, San Francisco's first pick was no. 61, which they used to select USC pass rusher Drake Jackson. Jackson's a high-upside pass-rusher with excellent movement skills and athletic traits―but he still needs to develop a better repertoire of moves and figure out what weight he wants to play at. I loved the Niners' selection of LSU running back Ty Davis-Price, who could serve as an excellent complement to Elijah Mitchell and help Kyle Shanahan convince Deebo Samuel he won't be a running back anymore. I'm looking forward to watching SMU receiver Danny Gray in action too. Gray fits this offense like a glove, boasting excellent run-after-the-catch speed and elusiveness in the open field."

ESPN: B-

"The 49ers first round pick was dealt away in their trade up for quarterback Trey Lance last year, so they began their class on Day 2 with edge rusher Drake Jackson (61), who could be an early contributor. I thought he might have a breakout 2021 season, but he had just five sacks. If he can put it all together, this could be a pick we talk about as a steal a few years down the road.

"Tyrion Davis-Price (93) went a couple of rounds earlier than I thought; he is my 13th-ranked running back, and there were several better backs available before the Day 3 run on them got underway. Wide receiver Danny Gray (105) is lightning after the catch, while Kalia Davis (220) is a physical interior defensive lineman against the run. Davis is recovering from an injury or else he probably would have gone at least a round higher.

"Jackson has a high ceiling, but San Francisco reached a little too much for my liking with its picks."

"It won't be clear whether trading a first round pick for Trey Lance was the right move until we see him on the field. The Niners did a nice job picking up Jackson in the second round, but whether grabbing Davis-Price and Gray in the third round was good value is a question to be answered over the next couple of seasons.

"Burford and Zakelj added depth on the offensive line, both able to play inside or outside. I love Womack's competitiveness; he'll be a nice slot corner. The quick Davis and cover man Castro-Fields will contribute as rookies and outperform their draft status. The Niners eschewed other needs to pick Purdy as Mr. Irrelevant; the former Cyclone passer could be a longtime backup in the league with his tools and competitive nature."

"The 49ers drafts always seem to have a beauty-in-the-eye-of-the-beholder quality to them, and later-round hits such as Mitchell, George Kittle, D.J. Jones, Dre Greenlaw and others prove that they deserve some benefit of the doubt. But with part of the value of this draft tied to Trey Lance's future performance, it's truly difficult to issue a grade here in ink and feel great about it. Price, Burford and Castro-Fields were our favorite later picks of theirs, but we can't yet get too excited about Davis-Price or Zakelj (who looked overmatched at times at the Senior Bowl)."

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