The San Francisco 49ers started out their third day of the 2022 NFL Draft bulking up the offensive line by selecting OL Spencer Burford out of UTSA.
With Pro Bowl starting center Alex Mack considering retirement and left guard Laken Tomlinson leaving in free agency, the San Francisco 49ers needed to address the offensive line in this year’s NFL Draft.
Even though the Niners passed on this need on the first two days of the draft, they ultimately did so by selecting Spencer Burford from UTSA at No. 134 overall, and he primarily played left tackle but can move across the entire offensive line.
By drafting Burford, San Francisco has added much-needed depth to a position of need on day three.
But who is Burford? And why should fans be excited about this pick? See for yourself.
Why the 49ers selected Spencer Burford in NFL Draft
Burford brings versatility like no other with experience at quite literally every position along the offensive line. He comes to the team with 45 career starts in college with most of them being at tackle, but he also started games at both guard positions.
One thing that is appealing about Burford as a prospect is that he is only 22 years of age and has an opportunity to be in the Bay Area for a very long time. Burford participated in the Senior Bowl and certainly improved his draft stock during the process.
Burford stands 6-foot-4, weighing 304 pounds and is agile given his size. When watching film, his ability to fire off the ball and be quick with his feet is apparent, and he is always looking to make contact with defenders on the second level. In pass protection, he excels in getting off the ball, often beating speed rushers to the outside denying them a rushing lane.
He lacks the true size you want out of a tackle, but the 49ers will likely move him around to see where he may be most comfortable. Where Burford truly does well is in the run game, and more specifically, in a zone-run scheme that fits perfectly with San Francisco.
At the outset, Burford will look to compete for one of those O-line depth spots alongside returnees like Justin Skule, Colton McKivitz and Jaylon Moore.
Adding more protection for quarterback Trey Lance is where the Niners opted to go with their fourth-round pick after selecting EDGE, running back, and wide receiver with their first three picks.