5 dream targets for 49ers in 2022 NFL Draft

Boston College Eagles offensive lineman Zion Johnson (77) Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
Boston College Eagles offensive lineman Zion Johnson (77) Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports /
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The 49ers need to focus less on quantity and more on quality in the 2022 NFL Draft, and these five prospects would be ideal fits for John Lynch and Co.

Heading into 2017 and 2018, the San Francisco 49ers roster was in such poor shape that general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan could afford to stockpile as many NFL Draft picks as possible to revamp talent across the board.

Simply put, they needed upgrades in a lot of places.

Heading into 2022, though, the context is vastly different. The Niners are watching their Super Bowl window expand. And despite some roster deficiencies (every team has them), San Francisco shouldn’t be as concerned with onboarding a lot of talent.

No, it’s more about landing the best talent. Quality over quantity applies here.

Without a first-round pick, thanks to last year’s trade for quarterback Trey Lance, it’ll be a bit tougher to land some dream-like targets. Nevertheless, the 49ers can still hope one of these five players is available when their number is called for the first time in this year’s draft.

Boston College. Pick Analysis. Offensive Line. Zion Johnson. 5. player. 826. Scouting Report

49ers dream target No. 5: IOL Zion Johnson, Boston College

It’s certainly possible the Niners look to reinforce their offensive line first in this year’s draft, particularly with left guard Laken Tomlinson poised to hit free agency and last year’s second-round rookie, Aaron Banks, not exactly wowing his rookie season and hardly seeing any action.

Interior offensive linemen rarely get selected early in the draft, so it’s highly plausible Boston College lineman Zion Johnson winds up slipping past Round 1 and into the second round.

Johnson, 6-foot-3 and 316 pounds, has experience at tackle but projects to be a guard at the pro level, and his movement skills suggest an ideal fit for a zone-style offense, one which San Francisco operates.

The trick, however, will be seeing whether or not Johnson falls far enough to the latter portions of the second round where the 49ers are picking, or at least into a spot where they feel comfortable trading up.

If so, they’d be landing a plug-and-play starter who’d help make their O-line both younger and cheaper than it was a season ago.