The 49ers may have sought to replace or upgrade some players via the 2022 NFL Draft, but these five have to be thankful the draft didn’t pan out that way.
Not long before the 2021 NFL Draft, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was assuredly shocked and pissed the San Francisco 49ers sent off a massive package to trade up to the No. 3 overall spot in that year’s order.
It meant they were getting a replacement at quarterback. A replacement for him.
And while the Niners’ subsequent drafting of Trey Lance didn’t immediately spell the end for Jimmy G in the red and gold that year, it did mean he was being phased out sooner than later.
There were plenty of losers from San Francisco’s subsequent 2022 NFL Draft class, returning veterans who’ll likely be pushed onto the roster bubble by the rookie group. On the flip side, however, other fringe-like players have to be feeling awfully thankful the 49ers’ 2022 draft didn’t wind up providing the clear-cut options to replace them this season.
Such as these five who didn’t endure a Garoppolo-like situation in the wake of last April’s draft.
No. 5: 49ers tight end Ross Dwelley
2021 seemed to be an indication the Niners were preparing to move on from No. 2 tight end Ross Dwelley. For starters, he actually saw fewer snaps on the year than the No. 3 option on the depth chart, Charlie Woerner, and Dwelley’s four receptions for 51 yards and a touchdown were a far cry from the modestly impressive 19-catch, 245-yard, one-touchdown campaign he had in 2020.
Granted, Dwelley was frequently filling in for No. 1 tight end George Kittle for much of that particular year, and Kittle remained healthy for the bulk of 2021.
Still, it sure appeared as if Dwelley was going to be phased out anyway.
Now, San Francisco opted to re-sign Dwelley during the offseason, but it was anything but a guarantee he’d make the 53-man roster, and head coach Kyle Shanahan seemingly has a yearly tradition of trying to upgrade the second option at tight end anyway.
However, amid a weak tight end class in the draft, the 49ers opted not to use one of their nine selections to upgrade this portion of the depth chart.
Dwelley sure appears safe for now.