49ers NFL Draft: 4 players who made the most out of Senior Bowl
With the Senior Bowl done and dusted, Niner Noise looks at players who impressed during the week and who could pique the interest of the 49ers.
The San Francisco 49ers are officially in offseason mode, and the first step on the road to the 2022 NFL Draft is the Senior Bowl, which recently concluded this past week.
With a lot of top talent playing in the game, interest is usually high as it’s the first real chance for draftees to boost their stock after the college season. While the game is fun, it’s traditionally the practices that teams focus on the most.
Read More: 2022 Senior Bowl: 4 NFL Draft prospects 49ers will love
The Niners don’t own a first-round pick in this draft due to the trade-up last year to pick quarterback Trey Lance, but there are several players at the Senior Bowl they could pick in the later rounds which we will be focusing on.
Following is a shortlist of players who improved their stock at the Senior Bowl, but the 49ers won’t be looking at for one reason or another.
49ers won’t land these NFL Draft prospects who nevertheless impressed at Senior Bowl
No. 3: QB Malik Willis, Liberty
2022 is shaping up to be a poor quarterback class, with huge flaws in all of the top quarterback prospects which was a thought confirmed by an uneven quarterback performance.
Of these quarterbacks, only Malik Willis has a big cannon arm for the pros and that was on show for the Senior Bowl.
Willis severely lacks touch however and all week he was overthrowing his receivers. But this can be taught, and he also has the legs to make plays.
The 49ers obviously won’t be looking at a quarterback, and he’ll be long gone before they pick regardless, but Willis made a case to challenge Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett as the No. 1 quarterback of the class.
No. 2: RB Dameon Pierce, Florida
In today’s NFL, the running back position isn’t valued highly in the draft, and picks in the first round are few and far between nowadays at the position.
Dameon Pierce won’t be picked in the first round but showed definite three-down potential to put himself in the running to be the first running back chosen.
Pierce showed a good blend of speed and power during the week, showed up in the receiving game and also showed talent at pass blocking. He could be a nice sleeper pick on Day 2 of the draft who starts as a rookie.
No. 1: OL Zion Johnson, Boston College
Unlike the other two picks, the Niners would definitely entertain picking Zion Johnson if he was available at their pick (especially if Pro Bowl guard Laken Tomlinson signs elsewhere or Pro Bowl center Alex Mack retires), but the performance of Johnson put him out of the reach of San Francisco.
Johnson was the offensive MVP of the Senior Bowl and has shot into first-round consideration. It’s rare an offensive lineman garners so much attention, but he looked so complete during the week despite playing an entirely new position in center during the week.
Even if he isn’t picked in the first round, he isn’t going to last long the next day before hearing his name called.