Yes, it’s too soon. But without a first-round pick in 2022, the 49ers will have to start their scouting for next year’s NFL Draft a bit deeper than usual.
OK, it’s way too soon to start thinking about which players the San Francisco 49ers could target in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Especially considering the 2021 draft concluded less than two months ago. And even more especially because there are so many unknowns between now and when Round 1 kicks off a little less than a year from now.
But we do know a few things.
For starters, we can put together an estimate of some rough needs the Niners will have, based either on potential free-agent departures and relative shortages on the current roster. And we know San Francisco currently isn’t armed with first-round picks in 2022 and 2023 after trading them away to acquire quarterback Trey Lance last April.
This means scouting ends up being a lot more challenging than just looking at the list of the probable first-round picks potentially on the 49ers’ collective radar.
Nevertheless, let’s look at four way-too-early draft targets for the Niners in 2022.
49ers Draft Target No. 4: EDGE Kingsley Enagbare, South Carolina
San Francisco passed on adding an edge rusher in the 2021 draft, and it wasn’t necessarily a bad idea given there were no true studs in this year’s class.
But the 49ers will eventually need to find a complementary pass-rusher on a rookie contract to pair with EDGE Nick Bosa, and it’s looking more and more like fellow EDGE Dee Ford could be gone by next year anyway. True, EDGE Samson Ebukam is nice, but he could be little more than a situational rusher with the Niners, not an every-down player.
At 6-foot-4 and 270 pounds, South Carolina EDGE Kingsley Enagbare is a bit of a wild card and someone whose likely to go either early in Round 3 or potentially slips into Round 2 if he has a strong senior campaign with the Gamecocks.
With six sacks last year, Enagbare put himself on the map as a higher-profile prospect and was also quite the disruptor with seven tackles for a loss and two forced fumbles a year ago.
San Francisco has never shied away from investing heavily in its defensive line, so look for that trend to pick up again next offseason.