49ers’ best picks of 2022 NFL Draft
DL Drake Jackson (USC)
With their first selection of the 2022 NFL Draft, the Niners selected defensive lineman Drake Jackson out of USC.
San Francisco nailed this pick, bringing in some needed pass-rush help, opposite of Nick Bosa.
Jackson shows elite athleticism on tape and can immediately make an impact on the defense. Using his speed around the edge is what Jackson does best, as he is much more of a finesse pass-rusher than a power-type of player.
Though Jackson only finished with five sacks in 2021, many predicted more of a breakout season. He still has plenty of time to develop as a player and has the ceiling to be an elite pass-rusher in the NFL.
According to Pro Football Focus, Jackson improved his pass-rush grade by 22 points from the previous year.
Don’t miss the excitement behind Jackson, if he had the sack numbers he would have been a day-one pick.
WR Danny Gray (SMU)
In Round 3 of the draft, the 49ers added some serious speed to the receiver room with wide receiver Danny Gray out of SMU.
Posting a 4.33 40-yard dash time, Gray can take the top off a defense and has a speed element other Niners wideouts don’t.
Gray is more of a project in terms of his route running and catching ability. But what he does bring immediately to the offense is speed, and that alone is enough to get a few touches in the head coach Kyle Shanahan offense.
Shanahan listed his favorite characteristics of San Francisco’s newest wide receiver:
"What I like about Danny, I would say his No. 1 trait was speed, but his No. 2 trait was toughness. I think that’s a rare quality for those to be one and two, so I definitely like that about him a lot."
Gray brings a toughness most deep threats don’t and is willing to make those contested catches across the middle of the defense.
OL Spencer Burford (UTSA)
With plenty of movement along the offensive line this offseason, the 49ers elected to draft offensive lineman Spencer Burford. Burford primarily played left tackle and started at every other lineman position besides center during his collegiate career.
He started four years at UTSA, and according to PFF, never allowed more than 15 pressures in a single season. Burford comes in with a ton of experience and will also spend the entirety of the season at age 22.
Burford will compete for a depth spot along the offensive line, and if he progresses, can remain in the Bay Area for a very long time.