The 49ers won’t kick off their 2022 NFL Draft class until Round 2 this year, but let’s offer up some predictions for their No. 1 selection.
It’s been a long, long time since the San Francisco 49ers were without a first-round pick in the NFL Draft.
In fact, you’d have to go back all the way to the 1996 NFL Draft to find the last time the Niners were inactive in Round 1.
Thanks to last year’s blockbuster trade-up for quarterback Trey Lance, general manager John Lynch and Co. will likely be standing idle during the opening round of the 2022 draft, which kicks off on Thursday, April 28.
When Round 2 starts the following day, however, San Francisco will be paying close attention to how the draft board pans out, working its way down to the 49ers’ top selection at No. 61 overall.
It’s anyone’s guess how the draft board works out for the previous 60 selections, leaving all kinds of possibilities regarding whom the Niners grab with their first pick.
But, since predictions are always fun, let’s try guesstimating five prospects who could wind up landing atop San Francisco’s 2022 NFL Draft class.
49ers prediction No. 5: OL Dylan Parham, Memphis
It wouldn’t be a shock for the 49ers to use their top pick in this year’s draft on an offensive lineman, particularly after watching Pro Bowl left guard Laken Tomlinson depart in free agency and the uncertainty surrounding whether or not second-year pro Aaron Banks can adequately replace him.
And with veteran center Alex Mack getting up there in age, the Niners have to think about a long-term replacement there, too.
Memphis interior offensive lineman Dylan Parham, who crushed both his NFL Combine and pro-day workouts, is certainly moving up big boards and could easily be a second-round pick this year.
A four-year starter with the capability of playing all three interior spots along the offensive line, Parham could immediately compete with Banks and potentially even veteran right guard Daniel Brunskill, and the long-term prognosis could be moving Parham into the center role as Mack’s heir apparent.
Immediate depth, a potential guard upgrade and a long-term center would be what San Francisco potentially receives by grabbing Parham at No. 61 overall.