49ers mock NFL Draft: 5 first-round targets for San Francisco

Drake London (15) of the USC Trojans (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
Drake London (15) of the USC Trojans (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images) /
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John Metchie, Alabama Crimson Tide
Alabama wide receiver John Metchie III (8) Mandatory Credit: Gary Cosby-USA TODAY Sports /

The 49ers don’t have a first-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, but that doesn’t mean they’ll avoid eye-balling some potential talent in the round.

The Miami Dolphins have to be celebrating every San Francisco 49ers loss in 2021. And at 2-4, the Niners’ previously owned first-round NFL Draft pick for 2022 has gone from a selection likely in the late 20s (perhaps even the 30s) to one that could potentially fall into the top 10.

Unless San Francisco suddenly figures out how to turn things around.

Maybe that would involve playing the player who cost this particular first-round pick, quarterback Trey Lance, but that’s a decision for head coach Kyle Shanahan.

At any rate, and sans a Round 1 selection in 2022, there are still a number of first-round prospects Shanahan and general manager John Lynch could be interested in this upcoming spring. The 49ers may not have the draft capital to execute a lofty trade-up back into the first round, but there’s always the possibility in an attempt to retool what’s been a frustrating roster.

And as anyone who has watched a couple of drafts knows well, even mid-Round 1 talent can slip into Round 2. It happens every year.

Here are five first-round 2022 NFL Draft prospects who should pique the Niners’ interest.

829. . Wide Receiver. Crimson Tide . John Metchie. 5. player

49ers NFL Draft Target No. 5: Wide Receiver John Metchie, Alabama

What’s happened with San Francisco’s second-year wide receiver, Brandon Aiyuk, this season has been a complete mystery. Despite flashing his rookie season, Aiyuk either finds himself in Shanahan’s doghouse or has completely disappeared from whatever the 49ers offense has tried to muster despite its own struggles.

If Aiyuk is on an inevitable path of flaming out, not unlike what the Niners saw between 2018 and 2020 with now-New York Giants wideout Dante Pettis, it then shouldn’t be shocking at all to see Shanahan looking at yet another wide receiver to add to the mix early.

Perhaps this is how Alabama wide receiver John Metchie works his way into the fray.

John Metchie Receiving & Rushing Table
Receiving Rushing Scrimmage
Year School Conf Class Pos G Rec Yds Avg TD Att Yds Avg TD Plays Yds Avg TD
*2019 Alabama SEC FR WR 4 4 23 5.8 0 0 0 0 4 23 5.8 0
*2020 Alabama SEC SO WR 13 55 916 16.7 6 0 0 0 55 916 16.7 6
2021 Alabama SEC JR WR 8 52 601 11.6 5 1 8 8.0 0 53 609 11.5 5
Career Alabama 111 1540 13.9 11 1 8 8.0 0 112 1548 13.8 11

Provided by CFB at Sports Reference
Generated 10/26/2021.

Metchie hasn’t exactly evolved into the perfect replacement for now-Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeVonta Smith, which is probably why the former is on the fringes of Rounds 1 and 2.

That said, the 6-foot-0, 195-pound receiver is a polished route runner with room to add some bulk to his frame.

If San Francisco decides to give up on Aiyuk but still wants to surround Lance with weaponry, adding Metchie wouldn’t be a bad move.