Remember when the 49ers selected Nick Bosa out of Ohio State in the 2019 NFL Draft? Let’s follow suit with a 2022 mock with only Big Ten players.
No, the San Francisco 49ers aren’t going to engineer their 2022 NFL Draft focusing solely on players from one conference.
Although it is always fun to look at would-be mocks (they’re never wrong, right?) and tighten the speculation a bit. We’ve already done this with one Niners seven-round mock focusing only on the Pac-12.
A little West Coast bias there.
By now, you’re probably over all those mocks anyway. But if you’re a fan of the Big Ten conference, you might be interested in seeing which prospects might be of San Francisco’s interest this year.
After all, with the No. 2 overall pick in 2019, the 49ers went after Ohio State EDGE Nick Bosa, and that Big Ten pickup has worked out pretty well.
Using Pro Football Focus’ mock draft simulator, let’s mock out every one of the Niners’ nine picks in the 2022 NFL Draft, going with Big Ten players only.
Round 2, Pick No. 61 Overall: 49ers select S Nick Cross, Maryland
It’s certainly flown under the radar a bit this offseason because of other, bigger San Francisco news (gee, what could that be?), but the 49ers are going to sorely miss strong safety Jaquiski Tartt, who remains a free agent and doesn’t appear poised to return.
The Niners don’t exactly have adequate options for a full-time replacement, but there is a likable solution if they elect to target the physical and speedy safety out of Maryland, Nick Cross, who delivers hard hits and has the ranginess to patrol the back end of the field.
Cross would be a quality fit at strong safety, but the long-term play might be allowing him to assume free safety duties, thereby moving the veteran defensive back, Jimmie Ward, down into an in-the-box role as he reaches the latter stages of his own career.
San Francisco’s secondary was a primary defensive weakness a year ago, but adding Cross would go a long way towards alleviating that.