49ers NFL Draft: Predicting each rookie’s impact in 2022

Southern California Trojans linebacker Drake Jackson (99) Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Southern California Trojans linebacker Drake Jackson (99) Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /
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Spencer Burford, UTSA Roadrunners, 49ers
Utsa offensive lineman Spencer Burford (OL04) Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

49ers NFL Draft picks in Rounds 4-6

OT Spencer Burford, UTSA

The 49ers needed some reinforcements for their offensive line entering 2022, so they used their first pick on day three of the NFL Draft on former UTSA offensive linemen Spencer Burford.

Burford comes with a lot of utility on the offensive line, playing both guard spots and tackle spots for UTSA during his collegiate career, and this figures to provide the Niners more depth help and versatility.

Expect Burford to be a backup in 2022 who could fill in for injuries.

CB Samuel Womack, Toledo

Stockpiling cornerbacks was definitely an offseason priority, and San Francisco’s fifth-round selection of Toledo cornerback Samuel Womack provides the team with a lot of utility in the secondary.

Womack can play inside and outside, providing the 49ers with much-needed depth at the position, but he also looks to be the potential replacement for nickel corner K’Waun Williams, whom the Niners lost in free agency this offseason to the Denver Broncos.

However, that might be a year or so off, particularly with Emmanuel Moseley likely starting inside for San Francisco in 2022, meaning Womack will most likely begin his pro career as a backup.

OL Nick Zakelj, Fordham

Like Burford, small-school offensive lineman Nick Zakelj out of Fordham provides the 49ers with more O-line depth, which was a huge need heading into the draft when recalling how big an issue it was a year ago during training camp.

Also like Burford, expect Zakelj to compete for a backup spot and potentially fill in for injuries if and when they do occur.

DT Kalia Davis, UCF

Former UCF defensive tackle Kalia Davis is coming off a torn ACL in 2021, so his potential role for the Niners in 2022 is yet to be determined. There’s a good chance he winds up kicking off his pro career on the non-football injury list, since the injury didn’t actually occur in an NFL setting.

Davis figures to be the potential nose tackle replacement for D.J. Jones, at least in the long run, whom San Francisco also lost in free agency to the Broncos this offseason.

At least that seems to be the idea.

Davis fell in the draft due to his health but provides the 49ers with inside depth who could help contribute to the Niners’ dominant defensive line.

CB Tariq Castro-Fields, Penn State

The cornerback position was one of the biggest needs for the 49ers to address in 2022, and they did so in the draft twice, grabbing Womack and then doubling down by adding Penn State’s Tariq Castro-Fields.

Castro-Fields is an intriguing prospect as he is very experienced coming out of college and runs a 4.38 40-yard dash time, according to his NFL Combine workouts. While in need of a lot of pro-level polish, he does have the attributes to be a successful corner with development. Right away, however, he provides depth and length at the position, which the Niners desperately needed last year.

Expect Castro-Fields to begin his career as a backup with the potential to see the field due to injuries in the secondary.