To no one’s surprise, the 49ers used their top pick of the 2022 NFL Draft on a defensive lineman, meaning some post-draft depth predictions are in order.
If San Francisco 49ers fans have learned one thing about general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan, it’s that they love to use high-profile NFL Draft assets on defensive linemen.
In a trend that existed before Shanahan and Lynch arrived in 2017, the Niners continued that history in the 2022 draft by using their first pick, No. 61 overall, on USC EDGE Drake Jackson.
The hope is for this particular move to develop the complementary pass-rushing piece to Pro Bowl pass-rusher Nick Bosa, alleviating the likely departure of oft-injured EDGE Dee Ford, whose chronic back injuries have mostly kept him off the field the last two seasons.
There are other new (and returning) faces heading into offseason workouts, too, including veteran defensive end Kemoko Turay, rookie interior lineman Kalia Davis and a reunited-with-San Francisco lineman, Kerry Hyder Jr.
Right now, the 49ers’ offseason D-line roster looks like this:
- Arik Armstead
- Kevin Atkins*
- Alex Barrett
- Nick Bosa
- Kalia Davis*
- Samson Ebukam
- Dee Ford
- Kevin Givens
- Maurice Hurst
- Kerry Hyder Jr.
- Drake Jackson*
- Javon Kinlaw
- Charles Omenihu
- Hassan Ridgeway
- Kemoko Turay
- Jordan Willis
* denotes rookie
Typically, teams keep between eight and 12 defensive linemen, depending on the base formation (either a 3-4 or 4-3) and the structural breakdown of the depth chart.
Needless to say, with 16 linemen in uniform this offseason, the Niners will be cutting some relatively well-known players from this group.
Let’s try predicting who makes the cut and how the depth chart winds up panning out, first by checking out the easiest to predict: the starters.