The 49ers added only a few high-profile players this offseason, yet these five newcomers are poised to provide the biggest impact over the course of 2022.
The San Francisco 49ers already enter the upcoming season with a playoff-caliber core of players, led by standouts like linebacker Fred Warner, tight end George Kittle, wide receiver Deebo Samuel, EDGE Nick Bosa and left tackle Trent Williams, among many others.
Each one of those players will be vital in some way as far as the Niners’ success in 2022 is concerned.
However, San Francisco also spent considerable effort improving its roster during the offseason, using both free agency and the NFL Draft to supplement the depth chart and to find improvements over the incumbent options carried over from last season.
Or to alleviate losses, particularly some in NFL free agency.
While the 49ers will need many of their returning blue-chip players to perform at a high level, these five fresh faces to the organization will also play a pivotal role in helping get the team back into the playoffs this season.
New 49ers player No. 5: EDGE Drake Jackson
The Niners are poised to move on from oft-injured EDGE Dee Ford before Week 1, meaning they’ll have a glaring hole opposite Bosa in the pass-rush department.
Considering San Francisco has used early draft picks to reinforce the defensive line on almost a yearly basis now, it shouldn’t have been a surprise to see former USC pass-rusher Drake Jackson emerge as a rookie to watch heading into 2022.
The 6-foot-4, 273-pound Jackson who only had 12.5 sacks over three years at college but was moved around frequently by the Trojans, defensively, might not be anywhere close to being an every-down defender early in his career.
However, as a situational pass-rushing specialist, Jackson’s physique and uber-talented upside could translate into him being the perfect complement to Bosa, taking the pressure off the two-time Pro Bowler and also taking advantage of more favorable matchups when Bosa is lined up opposite opponents’ best blockers.
It truly is a perfect situation for Jackson to thrive, and he could possibly translate that into a highly productive rookie season.