What each 49ers 2021 draftee must do to make 2022 roster

Trey Lance #5 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Trey Lance #5 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /
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Ambry Thomas, San Francisco 49ers
Ambry Thomas #20 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

Round 3: 49ers CB Ambry Thomas — pick up where he left off late in 2021

In some regard, San Francisco’s second third-round pick had a bit of an excuse for his early struggles in 2021.

Former Michigan cornerback Ambry Thomas opted out of his 2020 campaign because of the pandemic, meaning his transition into the pros was already going to be proverbially behind the curve. And when one considers rookie defensive backs often struggle anyway at the NFL level, one can understand why Thomas was essentially invisible for the first half of the year.

Injuries and ineffectiveness at cornerback eventually thrust Thomas into the starting mix late in the year, though, but the struggles were still evident.

However, even to the most casual observer, Thomas’ growth and development seemed to improve on a week-to-week basis. From getting regularly burned by the Cincinnati Bengals to at least sticking with his man against the Atlanta Falcons, then even performing well enough against the Tennessee Titans and even securing the game-winning overtime interception against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 17, Thomas was on the ascent, albeit slowly.

Now, the 49ers restocked their cornerback room this offseason, adding Charvarius Ward and two more rookies, Samual Womack and Tariq Castro-Fields, while also re-signing veteran corner Jason Verrett.

Thomas’ prospects for starting in 2022 appear slim. But if he continues trending in the right direction, he’ll at least have an excellent shot to make the cut.