The 49ers may not have the best selection at No. 61 overall in the 2022 NFL Draft, but they’d leap at the chance at grabbing one of these five if they fell that far.
Maybe it’s a good thing the San Francisco 49ers traded away multiple first-round NFL Draft picks to select quarterback Trey Lance at No. 3 overall a year ago.
After all, the general consensus about the 2022 draft is that it’s not quite as robust and exciting as previous classes.
At any rate, the Niners will have to wait until late in Round 2 before making their first selection, No. 61 overall. And unless general manager John Lynch and Co. engineer some kind of blockbuster trade to get back into Round 1, or at least higher up in the second round, there’ll ultimately be a lot of waiting and hoping over the first day-plus of the draft itself.
“Hoping” is a keyword here.
San Francisco can surely hope some first-round talent winds up slipping down towards the end of Round 2, and 2022 wouldn’t be the first year in which something like that happened.
If one of these five prospects with Round 1 pedigrees winds up falling to No. 61 overall, one can bet Lynch would send his representatives sprinting to the podium to officially announce the selection.
49ers hopeful No. 5: EDGE Arnold Ebiketie, Penn State
The 49ers would love to find another top-end pass-rusher to pair with EDGE Nick Bosa, and it’s a good thing this year’s draft is actually strong in edge rushers.
One of those whom the Niners could have eyes on is Penn State’s Arnold Ebiketie, whose draft stock rocketed up the charts after transferring from Temple and recording 9.5 sacks over 12 games for the Nittany Lions last season.
The 6-foot-2, 250-pound Ebiketie is still a work in progress, and he’s not a three-down player just yet, still having noticeable deficiencies against the run.
However, in third-down packages, Ebiketie has all the tools to turn himself into a quality pass-rusher capable of providing that complementary thump to pair with someone like Bosa.
Unfortunately, many a big board and mock draft tab Ebiketie as one of those players on the fringes between Rounds 1 and 2, meaning it might be a pipe dream for San Francisco to land him.
If he falls, however, look for the 49ers to be overly enthusiastic about it.